CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI ■ ■ HYDERABAD SUNDAY JUNE 04, 2023 `12.00 PAGES 24 LATE CITY EDITION DEBADATTA MALLICK Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to NDRF personnel at the accident site in Balasore district of Odisha on Saturday; and (below) a view of the pile-up | PTI HOW IT HAPPENED 1 At 3.20 pm on Friday, Coromandel Express bound for Chennai leaves Howrah; passes Khantapara at 6.52 pm. Gets clearance to travel at a speed of 130 km per hour 2 3 At 6.55 pm, it enters a loopline at Bahanaga Bazar Station at a speed of 128 km per hour, hits a stationary goods train. 21 of its coaches fly off on impact, many of them capsize At the same time, 6.55 pm, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express arrives on the Down line. Derailed Coromandel coaches hit rear parts of the Howrah-bound train 4 Two coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express derail on impact. A third coach got damaged but did not derail, a preliminary inspection report said 5 Locals begin rescue operations immediately. As many as 200 ambulances, 20 fire fighting teams, four Odisha disaster rapid action force teams and three NDRF teams join in HORRIFIC PILE-UP TOLL 288 OVER 900 INJURED, AT LEAST 250 OF THEM CRITICAL; HARROWING SCENES AS DESPERATE RELATIVES LOOK FOR THEIR NEAR AND DEAR ONES; ODISHA GOVT OBSERVES DAY-LONG STATE MOURNING; MODI VISITS ACCIDENT SITE, SAYS GUILTY WILL BE PUNISHED @ Bahanaga (Odisha) WITH the first light of dawn on Saturday a tragedy of unimagi, nable proportions unfolded at Bahanaga railway station, about 180 km from Bhubaneswar. Amid frantic efforts by the rescue teams to find survivors trapped under the mangled coaches of Coromandel Express and Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, relatives from different parts of West Bengal and Odisha desperately searched for their near and dear ones among piled up bodies alongside the scattered tracks at the station that was witness to one of the worst rail disasters the country has ever seen. There were scenes of chaos and despair as trapped passengers screamed for help but the rescue teams were either unable to move the capsized coaches or cut iron railings due to lack of machinery and gas cutters. As many as 288 passengers were killed and over 900 others injured, at least 250 of them critically, after the Coromandel Express rammed into a stationary goods train near the station and jumped off the track around 7 pm on Friday Its . derailed coaches hit the Bengaluru-Howrah Daily Superfast Express which was passing by . Of the 21 coaches of Coromandel Express, 15 (B4 to B13 and S1 to S5) capsized and its engine went up and landed on the goods train in the impact of the collision. Two general compartments of the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express also got derailed after some of the capsized coaches of Coromandel Express collided with them. Eyewitnesses said Coromandel Express shook like a snake after hitting the goods train and four of its coaches moved out of the railway station boundary. “The derailment occurred between Bahanaga level crossing and the station. I was waiting at the other side of the crossing gate when I saw Coromandel Express climb up the goods train and derail while two bogies of the other train veered off the track after being hit by the coaches of the former,” said Kamalakanta Behera, a local. People and vehicles, including some auto rickshaws which were halted at both sides of the railway gate, retrieved the injured passengers and rushed them to the nearby hospitals. Some of the critically injured were taken to district headquarters hospitals at Balasore and Bhadrak while more than 100 were shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack. By the time the Balasore district administration arranged for light and other facilities, the locals had shifted several injured patients to hospitals located on both the sides of the Howrah-Chennai railway line. The state administration pressed 200 ambulances, 20 fire fighting teams, four teams of Odisha disaster rapid action force and three teams of NDRF in the rescue and relief operations. The Odisha government observed Saturday as a day of state mourning. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took a review meeting on the accident at New Delhi, flew down to the crash site in the afternoon to take stock of the situation and inspect the ongoing relief efforts. He was briefed on the accident by railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and education minister Dharmendra Pradhan. The PM interacted with local authorities, disaster relief personnel, and railway officials. “It is a painful incident. The government will leave no stone unturned for the treatment of those injured. Instructions have been issued to probe it from every angle. Those found guilty will be severely punished,” he assured. INSIDE: NO KAVACH ON BOTH THE ILL-FATED EXPRESS TRAINS: P7 DESPITE Union home minister Amit Shah’s call to maintain peace in Manipur, and the deployment of over 35,000 personnel of Army and paramilitary forces, there has been no letup in violence. Sixteen people were injured when suspected militants attacked two villages – Phayeng and Kangchup Chingkhong – in the Imphal West district on Friday night. The injured were admitted to Security forces during their area domination operations in Manipur | PTI the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences and Raj Medicity in Imphal. Two of them are in critical condition. “Unfortunate simultaneous coordinated attack by heavily armed Kuki terrorists, includ- HEMANT KUMAR ROUT AND SUDARSAN MAHARANA Hyderabad: Following Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s directive, Telangana government officials reached out to the Odisha government and Railway authorities, expressing their willingness to provide assistance in the rescue and relief operations following the train accident near Balasore in Odisha on Friday night. According to the South Central Railway (SCR) officials, there are currently no reports of injuries or casualties among passengers from Telangana State. Nevertheless, State government officials remain in continuous communication with the Railways authorities to stay updated on the situation. @ Bahanaga (Odisha) MANIKLAL Tewari was resting on his berth in Coromandel Express when he heard a loud bang around 7 pm on Friday. The Balasore native initially thought it was an explos i o n . Wi t h i n m o m e n t s, everything went dark and his coach was filled with smoke. It all happened in the blink of an eye — a nightmarish five seconds, as he puts it. “The coach had overturned and an iron bar hit my head. It was a matter of five seconds. When I regained my senses, I realised I was bleeding. My side of the window was broken and it was difficult to get out in that moment of near death experience,” Te- wari says, still unable to believe he escaped death. He managed to wriggle out of the window on the other side and saw locals who immediately pulled him out to safety . Not everyone had that stroke of luck. Asit Maity from East Medinipur is frantically looking for five fellow villagers with whom he had boarded the ill-fated train. They were all on their way to Kerala. While he identified one, others are still missing. As a mountain of iron debris piled up at Bahanaga Bazar railway station in what is India’s worst railway disaster involving three trains, cries for help rent the air. Locals and rescue workers even had to walk on body parts strewn across the site. Some of the scenes were too INFRA FAILURE, HUMAN ERROR BEHIND TRAGEDY B A N B U S E LV A N @ Chennai/Bhubaneswar THE initial joint inspection report by Kharagpur railway division officials into the horrific rail tragedy revealed that the track joints were incorrectly positioned, and that the signal panel in the station master’s room failed to synchronise with them at Bahanaga Bazar station. A combination of infrastructure failure and human error may have led to the tragic train accident. While railway officials failed to explain how the locomotive (WAP7), which was pulling the Coromandel Express, ended up perched on top of the adjacent freight train, the joint inspec- Fresh violence erupts in Manipur P R A S A N TA M A Z U M D A R @ Guwahati FIVE NIGHTMARISH SECONDS NO VICTIMS FROM TELANGANA, CLARIFY OFFICIALS ing suspected PDF of Myanmar, with sophisticated weapons, motors and lethod bombs, continues, injuring 16 in Imphal, Manipur. These must stop. It is economically affecting all people of the state,” Lt General (retired) L Nishikanta Singh tweeted on Saturday . Official sources said a fierce gunfight followed when the police personnel, stationed at the two villages, retaliated. After about four hours, the personnel managed to push the militants to the nearby hills. tion report indicated that the Coromandel Express, originally meant to run on the mainline, had entered the loopline where the goods train was stationed, traveling at a speed of 128 kmph. This newspaper has accessed a copy of the inspection report. According to the report, the Coromandel Express de par ted from Khantapara station at 6.52 pm, proceeding along the mainline towards Bhadrak. However, track point 17A was set for the loopline, where a goods train was already stationed. Surprisingly the signal , panel in the station master’s room indicated that the Coromandel Express was assigned to the mainline at its maximum EXPRESS READ Tale of lost expectations, says judge on ’18 presser New Delhi: Five years after the historic press conference by four SC judges in which they accused the then CJI Dipak Misra of bias and arbitrariness in allocating cases and warned against “one individual taking all decisions”, Justice Kurian Joseph said. WITH THIS ISSUE HEMANT KUMAR ROUT TREES OF LIFE PLUS 12 PAGES permissible speed, which in the Kharagpur-Bhadrak section stands at 130 kmph. At a speed of 128 kmph, the Coromandel Express veered onto the loopline and collided with the stationary goods train, resulting in the derailment of 21 of its coaches. This raises questions about why the signal panel failed to indicate the loopline setting when the track points were adjusted accordingly . Just when the Coromandel rammed into the goods train, the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast was about to cross the mainline. Some of the derailed coaches of the Coromandel Express fell onto the rear of three coaches of the Howrah-bound train, forcing them to derail as well. gory to describe as mutilated bodies without head, hands or le gs were found on the tracks. Nabin Chandra Soren, living in a thatched house right next to the track where the mishap occurred, rushed out of his house hearing the explosive collision. What he saw left him numbed. “Body of a loco pilot was lying near the boundary of my house. I kept it aside and along with my wife rushed to the tracks to rescue others trapped in the coaches,” Soren said. It was chaos and despair all around as trapped passengers screamed for help but rescue teams were either unable to move the capsized coaches or cut iron railings due to lack of required machinery and gas cutters in the first few hours. INDIA’S DEADLIEST RAIL DISASTERS JUNE 6, 1981 TOLL: 800 A passenger train fell into Bagmati River in Bihar while crossing a bridge AUGUST 20, 1995 TOLL: 305 Purushottam Express collided with stationary Kalindi Express near Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh AUGUST 2, 1999 TOLL: 285 Brahmaputra Mail crashed into stationary Avadh Assam Express at Gaisal station in West Bengal NOVEMBER 26, 1998 TOLL: 212 Jammu Tawi-Sealdah Express collided with three derailed coaches of Frontier Golden Temple Mail in Khanna, Punjab AP man dies, whereabouts of 141 people yet to be traced EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Visakhapatnam THE Andhra Pradesh government on Saturday night confirmed the first casualty from the State in the Odisha train tragedy The deceased has been . identified as Gurumurthi, who hailed from Santhabommali in Srikakulam. According to State IT Minister Gudivada Amarnath, Gurumurthi died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Balasore district in Odisha. The minister, who interacted with the injured passengers undergoing treatment at SMMC Hospital in Balasore, said that 11 Andhra-bound passengers injured in the mishap were identified. “Of those injured, seven have been shifted to Visa- khapatnam for better treatment, two have been rushed to to KGH and Seven Hills hospital in Vizag and two others have been taken to Apollo hospital in Bhubaneswar,” the minister stated. He added that officials received around 30 photographs of unidentified deceased persons. However, it is yet to be identified if they hailed from Andhra Pradesh. Speaking to reporters in Visakhapatnam, Education minister Botcha Satyanarayana said, “As many as 571 AP-bound passengers were travelling on both Coromandel Express and Yesvantpur Express, which met with an accident on Friday The . whereabouts of 141 passengers are yet to be traced.” CONTINUED ON P5 TSPSC leak: No. of arrests to touch 100 soon P R I YA R AT H N A M @ Hyderabad THE number of individuals involved in the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) paper leak case may reach three figures, as recently suggested by the Hyderabad City Commissioner of Police CV Anand, who stated that arrests could potentially reach 100. It has been observed that most of the accused individuals connected to the leak, procurement and purchase of the question papers are government employees. In the initial round of arrests following a complaint filed by the TSPSC Assistant Secretary (Administration) on March 11, a total of nine offenders were taken into custody. Among them, five offenders were government employees, including a constable working with Medc h a l p o l i c e , K e t h av a t h Srinivas. Sources have revealed that out of the total accused individuals connected to the paper leak and those who further purchased it, there are approximately 10 to 15 offenders who hold government jobs. One of the recently arrested individuals, Divisional Engineer Ramesh from the Electricity Department in Warangal, is among them. Variety of motives Through the arrests and subsequent interrogations, it has been revealed that monetary gain was the main motive of the offenders. However, a few others also acquired the leaked question paper with the intention of helping their siblings. CONTINUED ON P5
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