Mon, 25 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], June 4 (ANI): Member of Operation and Business Development, Railway Board Jaya Varma Sinha on Sunday recounted the chilling conversation with the locomotive driver and TTE officials after the tragic train accident in Odisha's Balasore that claimed 275 lives.

While talking to the media, Jaya Varma Sinha said, "We talked to the driver of Coromandel. He was in his senses when he told us that he had received a green signal.""I talked to the guard of the iron ore train too. It was providential that his life was saved. The engine of the train crushed the brake van of the guard. If the guard was inside it then he would have been dead. The guard of the iron ore train was examining the train from outside at the time of the accident," she added.

Stating that she received the information just within 15 minutes after the accident, Jaya Varma Sinha said, "I also talked to the TT of coach A1 of the other train Howrah Yesvantpur Express. He told me that he heard a loud abnormal voice from the back. He felt there was some kind of obstruction. Behind the A1 coach, there were two general coaches and the guard's cabin. The two coaches behind A1 detached completely and were thrown off the tracks, while the A1 coach was safe and moved forward."The Ministry of Home Affairs is assisting the Railway Board in the rescue and investigation of the tragic train accident.

"Not NIA, Ministry of Home Affairs is assisting us," Jaya Varma Sinha said.

When asked about the functioning of the route, she told ANI that at least two railway lines are expected to be operational by Sunday night, but as of now the reason for the accident can't be authenticated.

Railway Board citing premiliary investigation said there was some issue with the signalling and only Coromandel Express met with an accident in Balasore that claimed the lives of 275 passengers.

Addressing a press conference in the national capital, Jaya Varma Sinha, Member of Operation and Business Development, Railway Board said, "According to the preliminary findings, there has been some issue with the signalling. We are still waiting for the detailed report from the Commissioner of Railway Safety. Only Coromandal Express met with an accident. The train was at a speed of around 128 km/h.

"With restoration work underway, at least two railway lines are expected to be operational by 8 pm today at the site. We expect that trains will start running at a low speed. Inquiry is underway, we are investigating all angles. Prima facie it appears to be an issue of signalling, but we cannot authenticate anything as of now," she said.

The Railway Board member added that the top priority of the Railways is to make sure that the evidence and witnesses are not tampered with or affected.

"Safety is the top priority for Railways. We are making sure that the evidence does not get tampered with and that any witness does not get affected. The driver of the train who sustained serious injuries said that the train moved forward only after it received a 'Green' signal. Neither did he jump any signal nor the train was overspeeding," she further said.

She had also said during the press conference that the goods train did not get derailed, but since it was carrying iron ores, the Coromandel Express suffered the maximum damage.

"The goods train did not get derailed. Since the goods train was carrying iron ores, the maximum damage of the impact was on Coromandel Express. This is the reason for a huge number of deaths and injuries," said Jaya Varma Sinha.

She further said that derailed bogies of the Coromandel Express hit the last two bogies of the Yashwantpur Express."The derailed bogies of Coromandel Express came on the downline and hit the last two bogies of Yashwantpur Express which was crossing at the speed of 126 km/h from downline," she said.

Sinha said that the Railways first focused on relief and rescue work after the accident.

"Railways first did relief and rescue work after the accident and after that repair work is being done. There are four lines at Bahanaga station. It has two main lines. There was a goods train on the loop line. The driver had received the green signal at the station. Both vehicles were running at full speed," she said.

The official further said that the helpline number has been made available for the family members of the injured or deceased.

"Our helpline number 139 is available. This is not a call centre number, our senior officers are answering the calls and we are trying to connect as many people as possible. The family members of the injured or deceased can call us and we will make sure that they are able to meet them. We will take care of their journey and other expenses," said Jaya Varma Sinha.

Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Secy Pradeep Jena clarified that the death toll is 275 and not 288, it was checked and found that some bodies were counted twice.

"The death toll is 275 and not 288. The data was checked by DM and it was found that some bodies have been counted twice, so the death toll has been revised to 275. Out of 275, 88 bodies have been identified," Jena told ANI.

"Out of 1,175 injured, 793 have been discharged after treatment. The figure will be updated around 2 pm," he added.

As per the Ministry of Railways, the restoration work is going in full swing and the officials are closely monitoring the restoration process at the accident site.

A manpower of over 1000 people is engaged in the work. More than seven Poclain Machines, two Accident Relief Trains, and 3-4 Railway and Road Cranes are deployed, the Ministry stated. (ANI)

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