Utkal Express derailment: At least 23 killed, 96 injured

10 killed, over 50 injured after six coaches of Utkal Express derail in UP's Khatauli

After the derailment of 14 coaches of Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express, it has emerged that the driver was unaware of the track maintenance being carried out at the spot where the mishap occurred in Muzzafarnagar.

Four division level engineers have been suspended by railways.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the derailment. According to reports, the train was scheduled to travel to Bihar's Kishanganj, carrying soil for the flood-affected region.

Initial reports of the incident on Saturday evening had reported a death toll of as less as 5 persons, however during an overnight search and rescue operation, many more fatalities were discovered. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams were also rushed to the accident site.

The Commissioner Railway Safety, the Northern circle will begin an enquiry from Monday, he said. The train was flung off the tracks with one coach ramming into a nearby house. "Strict action will be taken against any lapse", he said. "He will also find out whether laid down rules were followed", he added.




Railway department has issued helpline no 9760534054/5101 for emergency contact. "Strong measures should be taken for ensuring railway security", he added.

He also spoke to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath about the situation. In all these cases, Railways said that it suspected sabotage. "People demand basic facilities and a safe rail network". Railway officials undertake unofficial maintenance because of the high number of trains travelling and the pressure to maintain the tracks does not allow them time for officially declaring that the track is under maintenance.

A 2012 government report said nearly 15,000 people were killed every year on India's railways and described the loss of life as an annual "massacre". There was some work happening on the tracks when the train arrived at full speed - the train is known to move speedily as it does not have a stop here - when suddenly stones began flying around everywhere.

"Neither the line, on which the work was under way, was fixed nor they had put any flag or a signboard (as a stop signal)".

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