Balasore (Odisha): Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Saturday reached the accident spot in Odisha's Balasore and took stock of the situation and assured to conduct a detailed high-level inquiry on the mishap. "A detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted and the rail safety commissioner will also do an independent inquiry," Vaishnaw said.
"Our focus is on rescue and relief operations. Restoration will begin after clearance from the district administration," he said.
After the collision between the passenger train and a freight train in Odisha's Balasore district on Friday, at least 233 people were dead and 900 injured, Odisha chief secretary Pradeep Jena confirmed on Saturday.
Railway, NDRF, SDRF, and State govt are conducting the rescue operation. The best possible healthcare facilities will be provided." He further said, "Compensation was announced on Friday. A high-level committee has also been formed to inquire about it."
In the morning Vaishnaw reached the accident spot and took stock of the situation at the accident site in Balasore where a search and rescue operation is underway. Vaishnaw also ordered a high-level probe into the derailment on Friday night.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of Education and Skill Development, Dharmendra Pradhan also cut short his visit to Kolkata in West Bengal and left for Balasore in Odisha where several coaches of a passenger train derailed after colliding with a goods carriage.
The Odisha government has declared a day of mourning on Saturday after the train derailment. The Konkan Railway officials informed that the Goa-Mumbai Vande Bharat Express's flagging-off ceremony has been cancelled due to the tragic accident in Odisha. Several coaches of the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed near Bahanaga station in Odisha's Balasore after hitting a goods train.
According to Railway spokesperson Amitabh Sharma, the accident took place around 7 pm on Friday. "Around 7 pm, 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.