<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Safe travel is a right of every passenger. Now safety of rail assets is finally being given some attention by the Indian Railways, which was in the backburner. For instance, on Sunday, the Central Railway replaced 6.2 km of tracks during the mega block between Thane-Vashi and Thane-Mulund sections. These tracks had become unsafe for trains to ply as it’s condition has deteriorated. In this year itself, there have been several derailments and accidents across Indian Railways; one of the primary reasons being the poor quality of tracks. The railway officials agree that underinvestment in rail infrastructure, poor maintenance and excessive traffic has deteriorated the condition of these tracks. AT A GLANCEMajor Derailments In 2017DescriptionUtkal Express derailment, Aug 18, 2017 Meerut-Lucknow Rajya Rani Express derailment, April 15, 2017 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailment, Jan 22, 2017 Kalindi Express derailment, Feb 20, 2017 The life of a rail track depends on the frequency of train movement and its tonnage capacity (load-bearing capacity that coaches carry). In Mumbai, the rail tracks are normally replaced after 1-2 years due to heavy usage while in the interiors where train movement is less, the replacement is done after 10 years too. “The railway ministry has specifically asked all the zones to address safety issues which also includes replacement of old and worn out tracks. Work on new rail lines has been kept on hold and the same tracks have been diverted to rail stretches that need immediate attention,” said a senior railway official.On November 19, near about 300 labourers were deployed for this work. “The rail replacement is done usually on those which have outlived its codal life and on condition basis of rail. However, this is record progress of rail renewal in a single block,” said Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO, Central Railway. These rails came from Bhilai steel plant as 24 panels of 260 meters long each, ferried in a rake. These were inserted in place of old rails during the mega block. The CR officials expect that it would improve safety as the track related technical glitches will definitely reduce.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>of major train accidents in India since 1988: January 21, 2017: At least 39 people were killed and 69 injured when engine and nine coaches of Jagdalpur- Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express jumped the tracks in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district. December 28, 2016: At least 62 passengers were injured when 15 coaches of the Sealdah-Ajmer Express derailed while it was crossing a bridge near Rura Railway Station in Kanpur Dehat district. November 20, 2016: Over 100 passengers were killed and more than 200 injured when 14 coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Pukhrayan in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh. July 10, 2011: At least 70 passengers were killed and hundreds injured when 15 bogies of a speeding Delhi-bound Kalka Mail derailed. May 28, 2010: At least 148 people were killed after the Gyaneshwari Express was derailed by Naxals in West Midnapore district of West Bengal. September 9, 2002: 100 passengers were killed and 150 hurt after a bogie of Howrah-Delhi Rajdhani Express plunged into the Dhave river in Bihars Aurangabad district. August 2, 1999: At least 290 passengers were killed after two trains carrying a total of 2,500 people collided at Gaisal in Assam. November 26, 1998: At least 212 people were killed as the Jammu Tawi-Sealdah Express collided with derailed coaches of the Frontier Mail near Khanna in Punjab. September 14, 1997: 81 people were killed when five bogies of Ahmedabad-Howrah Express fell into a river in Bilaspur district of Madhya Pradesh. August 20, 1995: 400 people were killed after the Puroshottam Express rammed into Kalindi Express near Firozabad railway station in Uttar Pradesh. April 18, 1988: At least 75 people were killed when the Karnataka Express derailed near Lalitpur in Uttar Pradesh. July 8, 1988: 107 were killed, when the Island Express plunged into Ashtamudi lake in Kerala.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Heavy rains swelled two major rivers causing flash floods in Odisha’s Rayagada district, prompting the state government to seek the help of defence forces, as four IAF choppers were pressed into service for relief and rescue operations, government officials today said.The flash floods, followed by an alarming rise in the water levels in the Nagavalli and the Kalyani rivers inundated vast areas, causing extensive damage to bridges and snapping road and railway connectivity in several areas, the officials said. Four Mi-17 V5 helicopters of IAF have been tasked for the relief and rescue operations. The choppers, detached for Op- Triveni under the Central Air Command, based at Raipur/Jagdalpur, were on a standby awaiting weather clearance.”As it is not possible to rescue the people through boat and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force, the assistance of Indian Air Force is required for the rescue operation and airdrop of relief material in the affected areas of Rayagada district. Four helicopters have been requisitioned,” said a defence official.Several areas in adjoining Kalahandi district were also severely affected by the floods caused by incessant rains, disrupting road and rail communications, they said. “There are flash floods in Kalyansinghpur of Rayagada caused by the rivers Nagavalli and Kalyani,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said after reviewing the flood situation at an emergency meeting held at the office of the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC). Stating that the state control room in the SRC office is tracking the situation, Patnaik said the ODRAF, fire service and CRPF were on the spot for undertaking rescue and relief.The help of the Army, Navy and Air Force helicopters is sought and instructions have been issued to take all immediate steps to ensure relief and rescue and other mitigation measures, he said. “No effort will be spared to ensure the safety of the people,” the chief minister said. While the district collector is also in the charge of the situation, the development commissioner has been directed to coordinate with all the departments. The revenue divisional commissioner (southern division) and Range DIG have been instructed to closely monitor the situation, he said.Noting that inclement weather persisted in the flood affected areas at present, Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan said IAF choppers would be pressed into service when weather conditions improved to ensure safe landing. Helicopters would be used for rescuing a large number of people trapped on rooftops as their houses had been submerged by flood water besides dropping food packets and relief materials, said an official. SRC Bishnupad Sethi said the concerned officials had already been alerted on the basis of forecasts by the IMD about heavy rainfall in the northern region.He said two bridges had been washed away causing disruption of road connections, while a railway bridge was also damaged disrupting train services. A road link between Rayagada and Bhawanipatna has been snapped as flood water is flowing on a major road. An East Coast Railway (ECoR) official said the flash floods have affected train services in the Rayagada-Titlagarh railway section as Railway bridge No 585 between Theruvali and Singapur Road Railway stations was washed away.Alert gangmen stopped a goods train which was supposed to pass on the bridge and averted a mishap, he said adding several trains had been disrupted or cancelled in view of the situation. He said the 18211 Durg-Jagdalpur passenger and 18212 Jagdalpur-Durg trains had been cancelled for today and tomorrow respectively. Stating that restoration work is in progress on a war footing, he said senior officials went to the site and relief materials were sent. Emergency control rooms were opened in Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Khurda Road and Visakhapatnam, he added.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is likely to distribute around 10 lakh free of cost direct- to-home (DTH) set-top boxes in Naxal-hit areas of the country, in a bid to reach out to people in the “media dark” region, an official said.According to a proposal by the public broadcaster, 5-10 lakh units of DTH set-top boxes will be given free of cost to people in areas affected by Left-Wing Extremism.”Yes, we will distribute set-up boxes in Naxal-hit areas,” a senior information and broadcasting ministry said.Recently, addressing an event in Raipur, I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had said that such an initiative would enable people in remote and tribal areas of Naxal-affected states to connect with various development schemes of the government.The minister had also said that the Centre would distribute 10,000 free DTH set-top boxes in remote and tribal areas of Chhattisgarh.The initiative will enable people in Naxal-affected areas to watch about 100 television channels free of cost.Besides a dedicated DD channel for Chhattisgarh, Naidu had also stated that a high-power transmitter would be commissioned in Jagdalpur (Bastar district headquarter) which would beam signal of AIR Jagdalpur to a radius of 200 km.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Political parties put their differences aside and condemned the Sukma attack that killed 26 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans, and wounded six others. In the deadliest attack on security forces in the region this year, Naxals mounted the assault around 12:25 pm in Kalapathar area of south Bastar region. The area is close to the Chintagufa-Burkapal-Bheji axis, the hotbed of Naxal violence which has seen a number of such attacks in the past resulting in high casualties.Here’s what the leaders had to say
ALSO READ 26 CRPF jawans martyred in Sukma: How Naxalites overwhelmed our brave securitymenSukma is the southernmost district of Chhattisgarh, and borders with Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It’s considered a Naxal hotbed. Furthermore, the only method of travel in this region is by public buses that come from and go to Raipur, Hyderabad, Bhilai, Bilaspur, Vijaywada, Jagdalpur and Visakhapatnam.Other than buses, jeeps and taxis are also available. While the nearest rail station is in Dantewada, the nearest airport is in Jagdalpur.The region has been declared a liberated zone by the Naxals, on the occasion of Independence Day every year ever since Leftwing insurgency cast its shadow over Bastar nearly three decades ago.The present ambush took place in the same Dornapal-Chintagufa area, where several ambushes and killings of security forces had taken place in the past including the most deadly one, when 76 personnel were killed in 2010.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Strongly condemning the killing of 26 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in a Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh?s Sukma, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the attack is cowardly and deplorable, adding that the sacrifice of the slain jawans won?t go in vain. ?Attack on @crpfindia personnel in Chhattisgarh is cowardly & deplorable. We are monitoring the situation closely. We are proud of the valour of our @crpfindia personnel. The sacrifice of the martyrs will not go in vain. Condolences to their families,? Prime Minister Modi tweeted. The Prime Minister wished for speedy recovery of the injured jawans. Expressing his pain over the incident, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh paid his tributes to the slain jawans. ?Extremely pained to know about killing of CRPF personnel in Sukma. My tributes to the martyrs & condolences to their families. Spoke to MoS Home Hansraj Ahir about attack in Sukma, he is going to Chhattisgarh to take stock of the situation,? Singh tweeted. Resonating similar views, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said he is deeply pained, adding that the slain jawans? sacrifice should not go in vain. ?It is a classic case of mindless killing. There is no place for such things in democracy,? he added. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiu said, it was a very sad incident, adding that it was a big tragedy. The Congress Party also expressed its thoughts and prayers for the families of the security personnel who lost their lives in the encounter. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said, ?My sincere condolences to the families of CRPF personnel martyred in the attack in #Sukma. We salute the sacrifice&courage of our bravehearts.? As many as 26 CRPF personnel were killed and six others injured in the encounter with Naxals that took place in Chhattisgarh?s Sukma. A message was received by the Indian Air Force?s Anti Naxal Task Force Commander about the ambush of the CRPF team at Burkapal area of Sukma District to airlift three casualties. Immediately, two IAF Mi-17 V5s of Jagdalpur detachment took off for Burkapal. One of the MI-17 was flying in escort role. On landing at the venue of ambush it was learnt that there were eleven Mortals remains of CRPF Martyrs for airlift and seven casualties. Immediately, the casualties were air lifted to Raipur and shifted to hospital. One of the casualty succumbed to injuries in flight on the way to Raipur. More helicopters have been launched from Raipur and Jagdalpur to evacuate mortal remains of the slain jawans. The mortal remains of six personnel have reached the Burkapal camp. The six injured CRPF personnel have been shifted to a hospital in Raipur. As many as 90 CRPF jawans were part of the road opening party when they were attacked by the Naxals. The weapons of the jawans have also been looted Chhattisgarh. Director General of the CRPF and senior officials are reaching Raipur and further to Sukma tomorrow morning. Bastar Inspector General Vivekanand Sinha and DIG Sunderraj have left for Sukma. MoS Home Hansraj Ahir will visit Raipur today in the wake of Naxal attack. Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has cancelled his engagements in Delhi and has rushed for Raipur where he will hold a meeting later today. The attack took place on personnel of the 74th Battalion of the CRPF as they were assisting the local population in road building activity in the district. The Congress Party has described the encounter killing of 12 CRPF personnel by Naxals as extremely unfortunate and called on the Narendra Modi-led NDA government to initiate appropriate counter action. Addressing the media here, party spokesman Manish Tiwari said, “Extremely unfortunate. Hope government will act with alacrity. Hope government initiates appropriate action against people responsible for attack.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IAF Chief B S Dhanoa today held deliberations with anti-Naxal task forces here as well as in Jagdalpur and reviewed their operational prepardness. He was briefed by the local commanders of various paramilitary forces deployed in the Bastar area. Dhanoa also interacted with personnel from various state agencies and air warriors to boost their morale, the defence ministry said. It said he reviewed the operational preparedness of forces deployed in the Maoist-infested areas.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chhattisgarh High Court has ordered the state government to exhume the bodies of two tribals and conduct their postmortem again on a plea by their relatives alleging that the police killed them in a fake encounter by branding them as Naxals. “The single-judge bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri delivered the order yesterday on a writ petition (criminal) filed by the relatives of the deceased,” Amarnath Pandey, one of the lawyers of the petitioners, said today. Relatives said Bheema Kadti, a native of Gampud village in Bijapur district, and his sister-in-law Sukhmati Hemla, had gone to a market in Kirandul in neighbouring Dantewada district on a bicycle on January 28, but they later received information that the two were killed in a fake encounter. Pandey said the police had asked the relatives of the deceased to collect their bodies from Dantewada district hospital. However, the police had claimed the duo were Naxals and were killed in a gun fight on January 29. Subsequently, the relatives of the deceased filed the petition claiming they were not Naxals and that the encounter was staged, Pandey said. The petitioners contended they were never provided the post-mortem reports. According to them, the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the PUCL vs the state of Maharashtra case (2014), under which autopsy should be done by two doctors in the district hospital and same should be videographed and preserved, were not followed in this case. The high court has directed the state government that the second post-mortem of the exhumed bodies should be carried out by two doctors in a district hospital, preferably at district headquarter Jagdalpur within a week of this order as considerable time has passed. Besides, it was also directed that the process should be videographed and subsequently the copy of the report should be submitted before the high court, the counsel said. The matter was posted for the next hearing after four weeks.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Repolling was today held across 36 booths in six districts of Odisha where voting for the first phase Panchayat polls was disrupted due to various reasons. State Election Commission (SEC) had announced repolling in 62 wards under 24 gram panchayat under 14 blocks spread over 11 district, an SEC statement said. The first phase of repolling was held in 36 wards today even as repolling will be held in other places in other days, the statement said. An average of 82 per cent of electorate cast their votes in the repolling spread over six districts of Balasore, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Nuapada. While Balasore district recorded the highest 88 per cent of voting, the lowest polling (70 per cent) report came from Cuttack district, a release issued by the SEC said. In Kendrapara district, repolling was conducted at two booths in Bangalapur gram panchayat (GP), eight booths under Ramchandrapur panchayat and one booth in Jagdalpur GP amid tight security. One platoon of police force was stationed at the booths where the repolling was held. On February 13 miscreants had looted ballot box from 11 booths and thrown them into river and tore up ballot papers, during the first phase polls. Repolling was held at two booths in Balasore district, 16 booths in Cuttack, five in Jajpur, 11 in Kendrapara and one in Nuapada.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid a row over alleged attacks on journalists and human rights activists in Maoist-hit Bastar region, the Chhattisgarh government has posted Sundarraj P as the Deputy Inspector General of Police in Bastar in place of controversial IG S R P Kalluri, officials said today. Kalluri has often run into controversies as part of his anti-naxal operations in the tribal belt and for his style of functioning in the insurgency hit region. He has been under fire from the Opposition and civil rights groups. The official order to bring in Sundarraj, effecting Kalluri’s departure from Bastar, was issued last evening here from the Mantrayala. As per sources, Kalluri has applied for a medical leave. Sundarraj, a 2003-batch IPS officer and serving as DIG state intelligence branch (SIB), has been made DIG for Dantewada range, officials said. As per the order, the headquarter of DIG (Dantewada range) will be Jagdalpur (Bastar district’s headquarter). All districts falling under Bastar range will be under the jurisdiction of DIG Dantewada range, he added. Kalluri has been facing criticism for alleged fake encounters and targeting local journalists, social and human rights activists. The Bastar police also came under the heat recently over the alleged threat to social activist Bela Bhatia for leaving Parpa area of Bastar. The state government was under pressure from human rights group and Opposition Congress to remove Kalluri from Bastar. Meanwhile, a senior state Home Department official, on condition of anonymity, said Kalluri has submitted an application for medical leave. “The Bastar IG has submitted application for leave,” the official said but did not disclose the leave duration.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The death toll in Koraput landmine blast has rose to seven. As many as seven police personnel were killed and six others injured in the landmine blast suspected to have been carried out by Maoists in Koraput district close to Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border. The blast took place yesterday evening when a van carrying 13 jawans of Odisha State Armed Police flung off the road due to the explosion of an IED reportedly planted by maoists. The place where the blast occurred is about two kilometers from Sunki in Koraput district, on Jagdalpur-Vishakhapatnam National Highway. The injured police personnel were taken to hospitals in Koraput in Odisha and Visakhapatanam in Andhra Pradesh. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has termed the incident a ?cowardly? act.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The famed, six-foot Ganesha idol located on a hill in Dholkal area here, which was found damaged last week, was restored to its original place once again on Wednesday. Since the ancient relic was located at the Naxal affected region, it took four days for the District Administration and Archaeological Department to successfully complete this challenging task. ?We have been working here from Saturday. Firstly, we made the idol?s platform after which it took two days for us to fix this idol at its original place. The remains of this idol were collected by the Armed Forces,? said Prabhat Kumar, an official of Chhattisgarh Archaeological Department to ANI. 25 kilometres away from the main city of Dantewada district, this ancient temple which was established by Chindak Nagvanshis, went missing and was found in a damaged condition downhill on Friday last week. The granite idol, which attracts attention for its presence in an area among dense forests, was found broken into 56 pieces. Cops suspect there is Maoists role in dislodging the ancient idol of the elephant god. According to police, a lot of visitors had been coming to the place to see the idol, which was causing trouble for the Maoists. The incident came to light when few people from Jagdalpur city came to the place to worship the idol. On reaching the place they found the idol missing, following which they took pictures of the empty space, which went viral on social media, resulting in the launch of a massive search operation by the entire Dantewada administration.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Saturday Bhubaneswar: Twelve people were killed as seven coaches and the engine of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed near Kuneru station in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh tonight. New Delhi: The Rashtrapati Bhavan today took strong exception to President Pranab Mukherjee’s photographs appearing in some Congress hoardings in poll-bound Punjab and wrote to Election Commission to ensure that neutrality of his office “is not breached in any manner”. Chennai: Jallikattu is all set for a grand return in Tamil Nadu tomorrow with an ordinance issued for conducting the bull taming sport after a three-year-long ban but protesters in Marina beach and elsewhere tonight refused to end their agitation unless a “permanent” solution is found. Sunday New Delhi: Hours after it sealed a pre-poll pact with Samajwadi Party, Congress today released its first list of 43 candidates for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, that include former Union minister Jitin Prasad and controversial leader Imran Masood. New Delhi: Reservation is a Constitutional right and nobody can abolish it, BJP ally and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan asserted today, apparently targeting the RSS over controversial comments by its publicity chief on quotas in government jobs and educational institutions. New Delhi: BJP today released its second list of 155 candidates for UP assembly poll with Pankaj Singh, son of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Sidharth Nath Singh and Rita Bahuguna Joshi prominent among them. Monday Vadodara: One person was killed and two policemen were injured as crowd went berserk after Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan arrived at the railway station here tonight by August Kranti Rajdhani Express for promotion of his upcoming film ‘Raees’. New Delhi: The Election Commission tonight gave its nod to the Centre to present the Union Budget on February 1 ahead of the Assembly polls, but said no schemes related to these poll-bound states can be announced and the Finance Minister’s speech should not refer to the government’s achievements in these states. New Delhi: Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, whose tenure was to end on January 28, today got a one-year extension. Tuesday Pune/Bengaluru: Lifting of the ban on Jallikattu has triggered renewed calls for revival of forbidden sports involving cattle like ‘Kambala’, a buffalo race in Karnataka, and ‘Bailgadi Shariyat’, the bullockcart race in Maharashtra. New Delhi: Days after Congress used the picture of President Pranab Mukherjee on a poll hoarding, the Election Commission today said pictures of constitutional authorities cannot be used for electoral purposes as they cannot be associated with a particular political party. (MORE)(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 39 people were killed and 69 injured when the engine and nine coaches of the Jagdalpur -Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express went off the tracks in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district. This is the third rail accident in the country in as many months, and worse, it comes at a time when the Railways is observing the safety awareness month.While the Railways suspected foul play, local authorities ruled it out. The derailment, which took place around 11 pm on Saturday, highlights the malaise affecting India’s rail network, the world’s second-largest. Rescuers said that the death toll and the number of those injured may go up.Railway officials said that they suspected tampering of tracks by Maoists, as the area is Naxal-prone. But local police superintendent LKV Ranga Rao denied any evidence. The engine and the coaches went off the tracks near Kuneru station, which lies almost at the border of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The Odisha police too ruled out the involvement of Maoists.Senior Railway officials, on condition of anonymity, said: “There is a strong indication of tampering with the tracks. Republic Day is approaching and foul play cannot be ruled out. A goods train had safely passed through the same track.” Rao reportedly said that the cause of derailment appeared to be technical.Sources in Railways, who did not wish to be named, said that it seems to have occurred due to poor track condition or a possible rail fracture. Railways spokesperson Anil K Saxena, however, said that the real cause will be known only after an inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety. The Railways has ordered an inquiry. Probe into the two other major train accidents that took place in November and December are still under way.The accident comes barely a month after 63 people were injured when the Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailed near Kanpur. This followed the Indore-Patna Express derailment on November 20, in which nearly 150 people were killed. Notably, the trains involved in all the three accidents had conventional ICF coaches, which escalated the impact of the accident as conventional coaches tend to overturn easily during derailment.Soon after the accident, the Railways said that it would advance its deadline for replacing conventional coaches with the modern Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches. LHB coaches are equipped with modern technology to prevent overturning of coaches during derailment. As per plan, manufacturing of ICF coaches will be fully stopped from 2018-19 and production of LHB coaches will be expedited from 2017-18.The Hirakhand Express was going from Jagdalpur city to Bhubaneswar when it came off the track nearly 160 km from Visakhapatnam, the nearest city to the accident site. Thirteen of the train’s 22 coaches were unaffected. The nine coaches that derailed were one passenger-cum-luggage coach, two ordinary second class coaches, four sleeper class coaches, one AC three-tier coach and one AC two-tier coach.Railway minister Suresh Prabhu went to the accident site and also visited victims in the hospital. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh under an insurance scheme to the kin of the deceased. The Rs 5 lakh would be in addition to the Rs 2 lakh ex gratia announced by Railway minister Suresh PrabhuA 2012 government report said that almost 15,000 people die every year due to rail accidents and described the loss of life as an annual “massacre”. Last year alone, there were 82 train accidents.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll in the horrific Hirakhand Express climbed to 39 on Sunday. Meanwhile, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu along with Chairman Railway Board AK Mital to monitor the situation at ground zero. Earlier, Railway Board Member (Rolling Stock) Ravinder Gupta, Member (Engineering) Aditya Kumar Mittal rushed to the site.The incident took place at around 11 PM on Saturday near Kuneru station when most of the passengers were sleeping. The station is 25 kilometre away from Rayagada station in Odisha.The Ministry of Railways has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for next of kin of those killed in the train accident. It has also announced Rs. 50,000 those seriously injured and Rs. 25,000 for minor injuries.
ALSO READ Indian Railways neglected, safety being compromised: Mamata on Hirakhand Express derailmentAndhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has also announced an additional ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh compensation under Chandranna Bima. The Indian Railway has issued the following helpline numbers – Rayagada: 06856-223400, 06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071 and 07681878777. The helpline numbers at Vizianagaram are 08922-221202 and 08922-221206.The railways has also pressed into service trains and buses to help the stranded passengers. Passengers were facilitated towards their respective destinations in train from Kuneru to Bhubaneswar through Rayagada – Sambalpur. 13 buses were also pressed into service for short distance destinations like Berhampur, Bhawanipatna, according to railways. Railways also arranged for snacks, water, tea for the stranded passengers.
ALSO READ Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express horror: PM Modi offers condolences, says saddened by tragedyThe accident has affected the railway traffic on Rayagada Vizianagaram section and Railways had to divert, short-terminate and cancel certain trains passing through this route.Over 60 people were injured as the engine and nine coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express jumped the tracks in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district late last night with the railways suspecting sabotage behind the derailment, the third in as many months. “Injured were admitted to hospitals. Some with simple injuries were discharged after the first aid. Medical relief train was rushed to the site. NDRF unit has also rushed to the site,” said the official.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday got support from a predecessor Mamata Banerjee in the aftermath of the train mishap in Andhra Pradesh, with the West Bengal Chief Minister saying he is “earnest in his efforts” but Railways is now being “neglected” and given less priority.Expressing grief over the loss of lives in the Hirakhand Express accident, Banerjee said “Sadly, today also many people lost their lives. My condolences to their loved ones.”However, the Trinamool Congress chief who is at loggerhead with the Centre over demonetization and arrest of her party MPs in chit fund cases, said, “We don’t blame the Minister. He is earnest in his efforts. But government needs to address issues urgently.”In a statement, she said. “Railways carries crores of people everyday. It is the lifeline of the nation. We are proud of our Indian Railways employees. However, now Railways is neglected and being given less priority. The Budget is being curtailed. Safety and security are being compromised.” Banerjee held the Railway portfolio during previous NDA government and UPA-I.At least 36 passengers were killed and over 60 injured as the engine and nine coaches of the Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed last night in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh with the railways suspecting foul play in the mishap.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday extended his condolences to the kin of the deceased in the deadly derailment of the Hirakhand Express, and assured that the Railway Ministry is closely monitoring the situation.”My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones due to the derailment of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express. The tragedy is saddening. I pray for a speedy recovery of all those injured due to the train accident. The Railway Ministry is monitoring the situation very closely and is working to ensure quick rescue and relief operations,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a series of tweets.Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also tweeted saying that the NDRF teams have already reached the spot to carry out rescue and relief operations.
ALSO READ Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express: Railways suspect foul play in derailment of trainOne NDRF team from Visakhapatnam is present at the derailment site in Andhra and four teams from Bhubaneswar are en route for rescue operations.Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced rupees two lakh as compensation for the kin of deceased in the horrific Hirakhand express derailment in Andhra Pradesh last night, which claimed the lives of 26 people. He also announced 25,000 rupees for the injured and 50,000 rupees for the seriously injured.Prabhu, along with Railway Board Chairman AK Mittal, is rushing to the derailment site in Andhra.At least 26 people were killed and more than 50 injured when coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed near Kuneru station in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh last night.Chief PRO of East Cost Railway JP Mishra said the incident took place around 11 PM when the train was going to Bhubaneswar. He said, four accident relief vans have been sent to the accident site. He said, the reason behind the incident is yet to be ascertained.Meanwhile, Railway Ministry sources have told ANI that the element of sabotage has not been ruled out yet. The number of casualties are likely to go up as the train was running at high speed while crossing Kuneru station where it had no stoppage. The injured have been shifted to hospitals at Parbatipuram and Rayagada.A team of doctors have reached the accident site. Vijayanagaram and Rayagada District Administration are taking active part in rescue operations. Several trains on Vijayanagaram and Rayagada routes have been diverted.Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is personally monitoring situation. He has directed senior officials to reach site and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations. Railway has issued helpline numbers.These are Rayagada 06856-223400, 06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071 and 07681878777. Help line nos at Vizianagaram are 08922-221202 and 08922-221206.