BHUBANESWAR: At least 27 people were killed and over 50 injured after Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district, officials said today. The incident took place around 11.30 pm when the train was going from Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh) to Odisha capital Bhubaneswar. Rescue and relief operations were underway, an official said. A team of doctors was also sent to attend the injured at the accident site, he said. Thirteen of the train’s 22 coaches were unaffected in the incident. Rail traffic on the coast line has been suspended. The train was travelling from Jagdalpur city to Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha state, when it came off the track nearly 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Visakhapatnam, the nearest city to the accident site. Services were affected on Rayagada and Vijayanagaram route, with at least three trains cancelled and eight others diverted. 13 unaffected coaches left for Rayagada and they will proceed to Bhubaneswar via Sambhalpur-Angul route. If necessary, extra coaches will be added at Rayagada, Chief PRO of East Cost Railway JP Mishra said.
The reason behind the accident is yet to be ascertained and an inquiry has been ordered into the accident, Mr Mishra said, adding the Army has also been deployed to carry out rescue operations.
Rayagada Sub-collector Muralidhar Swain, according to news agency PTI, said that the number of injured could be around 100. The casualty figure may go up as many people are trapped, he added. “Total 4 accident relief vans rushed from different places. Priority is treatment, shifting of injured passengers to nearest hospital. @sureshpprabhu personally monitoring situation, directed senior officials to reach site immediately, ensure prompt rescue and relief ops,” the railway ministry said in a series of tweets. Railways have tied up with local bus service providers to arrange for transport. Five buses have already been arranged to take the passengers towards Palasa and Berhampur areas. Over 10 ambulances have been deployed to take the injured to hospital. The latest deadly incident comes two months after 146 people were killed when a passenger train was derailed in Kanpur. Last month, 15 coaches of Sealdah-Ajmer Express had derailed while crossing a bridge over a dry canal near Rura, around 70 km from Kanpur; ttwo of the coaches fell into the canal bed. Two persons were killed and at least 26 injured. The central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged to invest $137 billion over five years to modernise the crumbling railways, making them safer, faster and more efficient. The government has signed numerous deals with private companies to upgrade the ageing network. Japan has agreed to provide $12 billion in soft loans to build India’s first bullet train, though plans remain in their infancy.