Coromandel Express accident: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik to visit Balasore tomorrow

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BHUBANESWAR (Odisha): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will visit Balasore on Saturday morning to take stock of the ground situation after two passenger trains collided with a goods train leaving several injured.

“There have been casualties but we haven’t yet counted. It was a tragic train accident involving three trains – two passenger trains and one goods train,” Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said.

After a collision occurred between the passenger train and a goods train in Odisha’s Balasore district on Friday, leaving at least 132 people injured, an additional rescue team of Odisha Fire and Emergency Service comprising 26 members with advance rescue equipment of Odisha Fire and Disaster

Response Academy Bhubaneswar moved to the train accident site for rescue operations, the Odisha government said.

Speaking to media persons, CM Patnaik said, “Our first priority is to take injured persons to hospitals and save their lives. I have just reviewed the situation about this truly tragic railway accident. I will be visiting the spot tomorrow morning”.

Since other trains will be stopped in districts falling on affected routes, Collectors have been asked to ensure that all the passengers stay safe.

“They have been told to provide them whatever facilities are required including water, sanitation, security, food etc at places where such trains may have stopped. Funds to be met from CMRF,” said Development Commissioner, Odisha.

The Chief Minister also said that saving lives of injured passengers is now top priority of the government.

PM Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of deceased in the train accident in Odisha and Rs 50,000 to injured.

Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakhs in case of death of accident victims and Rs 2 lakhs for those with grievous injuries and Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries.

About 50 ambulances mobilised to the site. Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) and his team are on the site, directing ambulances and first aid.

“50 doctors have been mobilized from other districts. Team of doctors dispatched from SCB MCH. Private hospitals in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack are also ready to receive patients,” said Health Secretary, Odisha.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took stock of the situation in Odisha’s Balasore.

PM Modi said the rescue operations are underway at the site of the accident and all possible assistance is being provided.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said, “Distressed by the train accident in Odisha. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families.

May the injured recover soon. Spoke to Railway Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation. Rescue ops are underway at the site of the mishap and all possible assistance is being given to those affected.”

Meanwhile Home Minister Amit Shah also expressed grief over the accident.

In a tweet, Shah said, “The train accident at Balasore in Odisha is deeply agonizing. The NDRF team has already reached the accident site, and other teams are also rushing to join the rescue operation. My condolences to the bereaved families and praying for the speedy recovery of those injured.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK chief MK Stalin expressed anguish over the incident.

In a tweet, CM Stalin said, “Shocked to hear about the accident in Odisha state #CoromandelExpress . I immediately contacted the Hon’ble Odisha Chief Minister @Naveen_Odisha and inquired about the accident. The information he gave is disturbing. My deepest condolences to all those who lost their lives in the accident. I have ordered the Hon’ble Transport Minister @sivasankar1ss and three IAS officers to rush to Odisha to rescue the Tamils involved in the accident. I have also ordered to make #Helpline immediately and help.”

Meanwhile, a help desk has been set up at Chennai railway station in the aftermath of train accident in Odisha’s Balasore.

Several coaches of the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed near Bahanaga station in Odisha’s Balasore after hitting another passenger and a goods train.

“There have been casualties but we haven’t yet counted. It was such a tragic train involving three trains – two passenger trains and one goods train,” Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena said.

“NDRF and SDRF teams are on the spot. 600-700 rescue force personnel working. Rescue operation to be conducted throughout the night. All hospitals are providing support. Our immediate concern is to rescue victims. Concerned officials rushed to the spot,” he added.

The injured have been shifted to Soro CHC, Gopalpur CHC, and Khantapada PHC, said Chief Secretary, Odisha.

According to the Railway Spokesperson Amitabh Sharma, the accident took place at around 7pm on Friday.

“At around 7pm, 10-12 coaches of the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed near Baleswar and fell on the opposite track. After some time, another train from Yeswanthpur to Howrah dashed into those derailed coaches resulting in the derailment of its 3-4 coaches,” Sharma told ANI.
NDRF’s first team of 22 members from Balasore Railway Station (BLS) has already reached the site. Another team from Centralised Traffic Control

(CTC) of 32 members started half an hour before, said officials.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has directed the state minister Pramila Mallik and Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) to reach the accident site immediately. Minister and SRC are heading towards the incident place. (ANI)

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