At least 30 people are feared dead and more than 400 injured in the Balasore train accident, which took place in Odisha on Friday evening. The accident took place when Coromandel Express collided with goods train near Bahanaga Station in Balasore at around 7.30 PM on Saturday.
Reacting to the reports of the accident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Distressed by the train accident in Odisha. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. Spoke to Railway Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw and took stock of the situation. Rescue ops are underway at the site of the mishap and all possible assistance is being given to those affected.”
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishanw, who showed no sign of urgency for several hours, swung into action only after Modi tweeted. Vaishnaw wrote on Twitter that he was rushing to Balasore.
“Rushing to the site in Odisha. My prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured and condolences to the bereaved families. Rescue teams mobilised from Bhubaneswar and Kolkata. NDRF, State govt. teams and Airforce also mobilised. Will take all hands required for the rescue ops,” the railway minister tweeted.
Several coaches of the Chennai-Howrah Coromandel Express derailed as a result of the collision with a goods train.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote, “Shocked to know that the Shalimar- Coromondel express, carrying passengers from West Bengal, collided with a goods train near Balasore today evening and some of our outbound people have been seriously affected/ injured. We are coordinating with Odisha government and South Eastern Railways for our people’s sake. Our emergency control room has been activated at once with numbers 033- 22143526/ 22535185. All out efforts for rescue, retrieval, aid and assistance initiated.
“We are sending a 5- 6 members team to the spot to cooperate with the Odisha government and railway authorities and to assist rescue operations. I am monitoring the situation continually personally with Chief Secretary and other senior officers.”
Vaishnaw has been busy sharing orchestrated videos of Vande Bharat Express to showcase his ministry’s achievements and ignoring the safety of train passengers at large.