Odisha train tragedy: Seven railway staff suspended

Accompanied by Kharagpur divisional railway manager KR Chaudhary, the SER GM visited the accident spot, inspected the restored tracks and the section from Bhadrak to Kharagpur. 

Published: 13th July 2023 09:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2023 09:04 AM   |  A+A-

Odisha train accident

An aerial view of the triple train crash site in Odisha's Balasore district. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Over a month after the tragic train crash at Bahanaga Bazaar in Balasore district that killed 293 passengers and left over 900 injured, heads have finally started rolling with seven railway employees placed under suspension for alleged ‘negligence’ in duty.

The suspended employees include two senior section engineers and one technician arrested by CBI, besides the on-duty station manager, an assistant signal telecom engineer, a traffic inspector and a signal maintainer.  

Last week, the CBI had arrested senior section engineer (SSE) signal Amir Khan, SSE signal in-charge AK Mahanta and technician Pappu Kumar on charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and causing disappearance of evidence of offence.

General manager of South Eastern Railway (SER) Anil Kumar Mishra on Wednesday said seven employees have been suspended so far and further action will be taken after CBI files its chargesheet. “The accident took place due to negligence and lack of alertness of some railway employees. Had they remained alert, the mishap could have been avoided,” he said.

Mishra said the SER suspended the employees as per preliminary findings. The CBI is yet to share its report as the central agency is still interrogating the arrested employees and some others, he added.   

Accompanied by Kharagpur divisional railway manager KR Chaudhary, the SER GM visited the accident spot, inspected the restored tracks and the section from Bhadrak to Kharagpur.  After inspection, Mishra said Bahanaga Bazaar station will soon get a facelift and the old signalling system, equipment and other systems will be replaced with new ones.

“Third line work is underway in this section. We have decided to replace all equipment, including panel boards and other systems that were commissioned in 2003. Already 20 years have passed since the signalling and relay systems were installed. All systems will be upgraded in next six months,” he informed.

The train crash took place as the signalling and telecommunication staff had disconnected the wires connected to the loop and mainline crossover while shifting the point detection relay circuit at the north cabin due to lack of station specific approved circuit diagram for electric lifting barrier replacement work at level crossing (LC) - 94 at Bahanaga.  Meanwhile, the CBI took the three arrested employees on additional four-day remand. It is also quizzing other railways sytaff including the on-duty station manager.

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