Utkal Express derails near Muzaffarnagar: 23 killed, 81injured as 14 coaches derail

Six coaches of Utkal Express derail in UP's Muzaffarnagar

Member (Engineering) in the Railway Board, Northern Railway General Manager and Divisional Regional Manager (Delhi) have been sent on leave.

Meerut: On Saturday evening when health department officials in Meerut and Muzaffarnagar were put on alert and government hospitals were readied for the Kalinga Utkal Express accident victims, as many as 2,000 doctors belonging to Meerut unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) made a decision to provide free treatment to the injured at private hospitals.

Four division level engineers have been suspended by railways.

The deadly train derailment in India's Uttar Pradesh could be the result of sabotage, Chief Public Relations Officer of Northern Railway Neeraj Sharma told Sputnik on Saturday.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the derailment. Railway officials said a medical train was on way and that trains on the route have been diverted through Shamli. According to the fresh report, at least 23 people were killed and more than 97 people got injured in a horrific train accident.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also rushed forces to join the rescue operation.

Since darkness was impeding rescue operations, he said the power department officials had been directed to ensure that there was no shortage of electricity.

One of the men in the audio clip apparently posted at a crossing near the accident site says "poor patrolling" on the track where maintenance work was under way was one of the causes.

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"We will take strict action against our staff if they are found guilty", Jamshed said.

One of the residents, whose house was damaged after a coach crashed in, said the track had been under fix for the past two days and the locals suspect Utkal express pilot wasn't aware of the same.

"Railway Commissioner (Safety) will also find out whether laid down rules were followed or not", he said.

A deadline has also been set by the end of the day to lead the investigation and identify the cause on the basis of prima facie evidence.

Muzaffarnagar District Magistrate G S Priydarshi, who has been at the accident site, said the total number of coaches that got derailed was 12, including one pantry auto and 11 passenger coaches.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath condemned the incident and assured complete treatment to those injured. The question, however, is whether we need these speeds when we can't provide basic safety in the infrastructure of rail lines and communications systems that are ageing.

He said the train was running at a speed of 106 kmph while the speed limit during track maintenance must be around 10-15kmph and train drivers must be warned about the work through signalling or proper warnings.

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