23 dead, many injured as Utkal Express derail in UP’s Khatauli

utkal-express-derailment_650x400_41503152348LUCKNOW : At least 23 people were killed and more than 40 others injured when 14 coaches of Puri-Haridwar-Kalinga Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday, officials said. Confirming the toll, the UP Police said that 23 people were killed and more than 40 others were injured.
The ill-fated train was on its way to Haridwar from Puri in Odisha when the derailment happened.The incident took place in Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, barely 100 kilometres from the national capital, New Delhi. The train had left Puri at 9 pm on Friday night and was to terminate at Haridwar at 9 pm. Cutters and cranes have been requisitioned to cut the mangled remains of the coaches and rescue people from inside.
Local residents of Khatauli town were the first ones to reach the passengers and pulled out the ones they could. A 40-year-old woman, one of the many rescued by residents, said she had occupied an upper berth. “There was a loud noise,” she said. The screams and cries for help followed. “I still can’t find my aunt,” the woman, in her late thirties said.
utkal express derailment
The accident took place around 5.46 pm in Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, about 100 kilometres from the national capital, New Delhi. The train was headed from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, normally a journey of about 36 hours. One coach rammed into a house on the sides of the tracks and two coaches climbed over others. All the injured have been shifted to hospital, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted adding that rescue operations have been completed.

Thirty ambulances have reached the spot to help the injured, ADG Law and Order Anand Kumar said. Indian Railways spokesman Anil Saxena said resources were being mobilised for the rescue and relief operations. “14 coaches got derailed. At this stage nothing can be said about the cause of accident,” Saxena added.Meanwhile, officials of the local administration have reached the site to coordinate rescue and relief works.
Two teams of the National Disaster Response Forces (NDRF), comprising 45 personnel each, were also mobilized for the purpose.  Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh for the next of kin of those killed, Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for people with minor injuries.  The minister has instructed the senior officers to reach the site and ensure speedy rescue and relief works.He also asked the chairman of the Railway Board to oversee the operations.

“All efforts are being taken to ensure speedy relief and rescue operations,” ANI quoted the railway minister as saying. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed grief over the loss of lives and injuries.“My thoughts are with deceased and their families. Injured are being rescued and provided relief,” the president said.

“Strict action will be taken against any lapse,” the minister tweeted. A team of the anti-terror squad or ATS of the police has been rushed to the accident site to conduct a preliminary inquiry.  Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spoke to principal secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar and the Muzaffarnagar district magistrate and directed them to ensure prompt rescue and relief operations at Khatauli. Forty people, many women and children have been admitted to nearby medical hospitals for treatment.