Hirakhand Express train accident: Prabhu promises ‘strong action’; govts announce exgratia

Bhubaneswar: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday said “stringent action” will be taken against those found responsible for the derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express which has killed at least 39 people and injured over 50 persons.

“The cause of the accident will be probed. It is an unfortunate incident. Stringent action will be taken against those found responsible,” said Prabhu.

The Railway Minister met the injured passengers at Rayagada district headquarters hospital. He also visited the accident spot near Kuneru station in Andhra Pradesh and took stock of the situation.

“Those responsible for the derailment will not be spared …Stringent action will be taken against those who played with the lives of so many people,” he said.

The Odisha government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the nearest kin of each deceased persons from the state who lost their lives in the train accident.

It also announced provision of free treatment to all injured in the accident, said an official.

The Andhra Pradesh government has announced Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives.

The union government would provide an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of the dead. It would also provide Rs 50,000 to those grievously hurt and Rs 25,000 to those with minor injuries.

Earlier in the day, Odisha chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Director General of Police (DGP) K.B. Singh and health secretary Pramod Kumar Meherda visited the district headquarters hospital at Rayagada and the accident spot to take stock of the situation.

“This is a railway accident. The Railways have a certain procedure for an inquiry in such accidents. After the cause of the accident is known from the inquiry, it is the Railways which will fix responsibilities and take appropriate action. The state government has no role in it,” clarified Chief Secretary Padhi to reporters.

“This is a very sad incident. This is a major train accident in Andhra Pradesh on its borders with Odisha. At least 39 people have lost their lives and over 100 have been injured. Bodies of the deceased have been extricated from the spot. Most have been identified but some remain to be identified. However, we want to assure that all the injured will be taken care of and they are undergoing treatment in different hospitals both in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh,” he added giving details of the rescue and relief work.

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