On June 4, hours after minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the “root cause” of the accident and the people behind the “criminal” act have been identified, the railways sought a CBI inquiry into the Balasore train crash
The railways on Sunday virtually ruled out driver error and system malfunction, indicating a possible “sabotage” and tampering of the electronic interlocking system. Background Pic/PTI
In a tragic turn of events, train services have finally resumed after the horrific triple train accident that claimed over 288 lives and left more than 1000 injured. Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, on Sunday, waved at passengers and crew, praying for their safe journey. The accident, which took place in Balasore, Odisha, has prompted a call for a CBI inquiry by the railways. However, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge criticized the move, stating that the CBI should investigate crimes, not railway accidents.
Here are ten key points:
Services resumed: Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday waved at passengers and crew and prayed for their safe journey, as services resumed following repair of the damaged tracks on both the up and down lines, 51 hours after the horrific triple train accident.
CBI probe recommended: On June 4, hours after minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the “root cause” of the accident and the people behind the “criminal” act have been identified, the railways sought a CBI inquiry into the Balasore train crash.
Congress president hits out at govt: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Odisha railway tragedy, saying "all the empty safety claims" of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw have now been "exposed" and the government must bring to light the real reasons that caused this grave accident. In his letter to Modi, Kharge hit out at the Railway minister for seeking a CBI probe, saying the law enforcement agency is meant to investigate crimes, not railway accidents.
Train passes through accident site: The first high-speed passenger train - Howrah-Puri Vande Bharat Express - after the triple train accident, passed through Balasore on Monday morning on restored tracks, officials told PTI. Vande Bharat Express crossed the Bahanaga Bazar Station around 9.30 am on Monday, they said.
No intention to hide death toll: Odisha Chief Secretary PK Jena said his government has no intention to hide the deaths in the Balasore train crash and the entire rescue operation was being conducted in full public view. Reacting to allegations that the death toll figure was being manipulated, he said Odisha believes in transparency, reported PTI.
Mamata raises questions: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the death figures given by the Ministry of Railways in the triple train crash in Odisha's Balasore, stating that 61 people from her state were dead and 182 were still missing. Banerjee also asked questions on whether Vande Bharat engines were up to the mark.
Ministers visit hospital: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya along with Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Cabinet Minister Dharmendra Pradhan visited the injured victims of the triple train accident, in Cuttack on Sunday. According to officials, the Union ministers met the injured passengers at the Srirama Chandra Bhanja Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.
Erdogan's tweet: President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday tweeted to express his grief over the tragic triple train accident. "On behalf of myself and my nation, I offer my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the train accident in Odisha, India, as well to the people and the government of India. We wish a speedy recovery to the injured. We stand by India as it mourns the loss of lives in the tragic accident," Erdogan tweeted.
Possible 'sabotage': The railways on Sunday virtually ruled out driver error and system malfunction, indicating a possible “sabotage” and tampering of the electronic interlocking system.
UK Foreign Secretary's comment: James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, has expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the Odisha train accident. “Tragic news of the train crash in India. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. My thoughts are with the survivors and emergency services,” said Cleverly. Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK Foreign Office Minister for South Asia who has just returned from a visit to India, also took to social media over the weekend to express his solidarity.
(With inputs from news agencies, including PTI)