NEW DELHI: Railways today ordered an inquiry into the twin train derailments in Harda in Madhya Pradesh which have left 24 passengers dead and ordered compensation for the families of the victims.
Commissioner Railway Safety (central zone) will conduct an inquiry into the accidents, Railway Spokesperson Anil Saxena said.
He said though prime facie flash floods caused the derailment of these two trains, the real cause will be ascertained after the submission of the inquiry report. The official said just eight minutes before the accident, two trains had crossed that section and drivers of these trains did not detect any problem.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu expressed grief over the death of passengers in the twin train accidents and extended his deep condolences to the bereaved families.
Railways have also announced ex-gratia of Rs two lakh for the next of the kin of passengers who died in the mishaps, Rs 50,000 for those grievously injured and Rs 25,000 for passengers with minor injuries.
At least 24 passengers, including 10 women and five children, were killed and 25 others injured when 12 coaches of two trains from Mumbai derailed in Harda in Madhya Pradesh and plunged into a swollen Machak river.
The spokesperson said that rescue operations at the site are almost over. Appreciating the efforts of villagers near the accident spot, he said they reached the site first and assisted in the relief and rescue operations.
Accident relief train equipped with doctors, paramedics and medicines is at the spot. As the condition of roads is bad due to incessant rains, it took some time for rescue teams to reach the accident site. Rail traffic has been adversely affected due to the twin mishaps.
The officials said the section between Khandwa and Itarsi is crucial for the movement of both passenger and freight trains from all directions.
He said it will take some time to restore the line as the flood has caused extensive damage in the section. Several trains have been diverted and short-terminated on the Itarsi-Khandwa route in the wake of the twin derailments.
Railways have also operationalised helpline numbers for the families of the passengers - Itarsi - 0757- 2241920 Bhopal - 0755 4001609, Harda - 07577 236081, Bina - 07580221362.