Restoration of the tracks following India's deadliest train crash in decades has been completed within 51 hours of the tragic incident. Videos captured the first train movement on the section which resumed on Sunday, June 5, with Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw offering prayers on the side-lines. The accident, which occurred on Friday, has claimed the lives of over 270 people, making it one of the country's worst rail disasters.
The minister acknowledged the commendable efforts of everyone involved in the restoration process. "Both tracks have been restored. Within 51 hours the train movement has been normalised. Train movement will begin from now," he said after the train departed. The railway minister was seen folding his hands in prayer as the goods train passed through the restored line.
Minister Vows Justice
Expressing great sadness for the affected families, Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated that a thorough investigation would be conducted to uncover the root cause of the incident. He emphasized that those responsible would face severe punishment.
CBI Inquiry Recommended
Considering the gravity of the situation and the available information, the Railways board has recommended transferring the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as announced by Minister Vaishnaw during a press briefing. This step aims to ensure an impartial and comprehensive inquiry into the tragic accident in Balasore.
Signal Interference and Lapses
According to the Railways, the accident occurred due to "signalling interference" when the Coromandel Express collided with a goods train carrying iron ore, which was stationed on one of the loop lines. However, critics have pointed out a railway audit report from September last year, highlighting significant lapses in rail safety. The report was presented in Parliament, raising concerns about the overall safety measures in place.
Revised Figures and Impact
The Odisha government has revised the number of fatalities in the triple train accident from 288 to 275. Additionally, the number of injured individuals has been estimated at 1,175. These figures establish the incident as the third worst rail disaster in the country's history, underscoring the scale of the tragedy.