Expressing grief over the horrific train accident in Odisha’s Balasore, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday questioned the Railways ministry over accountability.
“The news of the terrible train accident is heart-rending. Such a terrible accident has never happened before. There is no information so far on the death of any Kannadiga. The railway ministry should come clean on who was responsible for this horrific accident. I have sent my Cabinet colleague Santosh Lad to the accident spot. He will collect information and share further details with us. May the departed souls rest in peace,” CM Siddaramaiah told reporters here on Saturday.
He informed further that state minister Santosh Lad will oversee the rescue of passengers from Karnataka, if any.
Meanwhile, the Indian Railways put the toll in the Odisha triple train tragedy at 288, with 1,000 more passengers injured. It added that 56 passengers suffered grave injuries.
The preliminary report on the tragedy said the three-way accident involved Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and a goods train on three separate tracks at Bahanaga Bazar Station in Balasore district.
It had said that 17 coaches of these two trains were derailed and severely damaged in the accident on Friday evening.
According to the Odisha Health Department, 1,175 injured passengers were admitted to private hospitals of which 793 have been discharged already while 382 passengers continue to be in hospitals. Of the 382 passengers, 2 are in critical condition while the rest are stable.
Earlier, on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached the accident site in Odisha’s Balasore. He was accompanied by Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
The three-way accident involved Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and a goods train on three separate tracks at Bahanaga Bazar Station in Odisha’s Balasore district.
At the site of the accident, PM Modi spoke to Cabinet Secretary and Health Minister, asking them to ensure that all help is provided to the injured and their families, government sources said.
After taking stock of the incident, PM Modi visited Fakir Mohan Hospital, Balasore, where some of the injured passengers are admitted.
After meeting the survivors, he said that directions have been issued to probe the accident and those guilty of lapses will not be spared.”It’s a painful incident. We might not bring back the lives lost but we are with the families of the victims in this difficult time. The government has taken very serious note of this accident and will leave no stone unturned in treating the injured,” PM Modi said.
“I also thank the Odisha government and all officers of the state administration here, who helped in the rescue operation in whatever little way they could,” he said, adding that the Railways was working to restore the damaged tracks at the earliest.
PM Modi also chaired a high-level meeting to review the accident.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the triple train tragedy in Balasore was pegged at 288 by the Railways on Saturday.