As many as 23 persons were feared dead and scores were injured in a major train accident as 10 coaches of Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express (18477) derailed near Khatauli railway station under Kotwali police station of Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday evening. The mishap took place at the Meerut-Saharanpur section of Delhi division of Northern railway. Sources said some of the coaches crashed into nearby houses causing major damage to public and property. The Express train, coming from Puri, was expected to reach Haridwar at 9 pm. (newindianexpress.com)
Six coaches of Haridwar-bound Utkal Express derailed at Khatauli area of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. Rescue work is underway and teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been sent to the accident site. This is not the first time the colonial-era public carrier has seen an accident because of poor infrastructure and inadequate maintenance. (hindustantimes.com)
A train came off the tracks in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, killing at least 14 people and wounding dozens more as carriages slammed into each other, a local official said. TV channel CNN News18 put the death toll at 20 in the crash close to Muzaffarnagar, about 130 km north of the capital New Delhi. Local residents told the channel that some derailed carriages hit nearby houses. Train crashes are frequent in India, which has the world's fourth biggest rail network. Poor investment in past decades in the vast network and rising demand means overcrowded trains are running on creaking infrastructure. Saturday's accident is at least the fourth major passenger train derailment this year and the third in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. A crash in November in Uttar Pradesh killed 150 people. Sanjeev Balyan, a Muzaffarnagar lawmaker, told Reuters at least 14 people had been killed and 58 seriously injured, after a local medical officer had previously put the death toll at 11. (in-cyprus.com)
Top police and district administrative officers, including Muzaffarnagar SSP and the district magistrate (DM) were already present on the spot. Even senior officers from National Capital Region (NCR), ambulances and doctors were also rushed to the site of the accident.
Rescue operations are underway and hospitals of Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts were kept on high alert to attend to the injured with promptness and give them proper medical aid.
Though no official word on the reason for the mishap was out, a team of UP ATS officials left for Muzaffarnagar to look into the cause of the major mishap.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the derailment. He said he was personally monitoring the situation and strict action will be taken in case of any lapse.
In a series of tweets, Prabhu also said that Minister of State Manoj Sinha has rushed to the spot while the Chairman of Railway Board and Member Traffic have been asked to oversee rescue and relief operations.
"All efforts being taken to ensure speedy relief and rescue operations," Prabhu said.
He also announced Rs 3.5 lakh ex-gratia for those who lost their lives, Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those who received minor injuries
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed extreme pain over the derailment and said the Railway Ministry and the state government were doing everything possible and providing all assistance required.