New Delhi/Bhopal, Aug 5: At least 28 people have died after two passenger trains, Kamayani Express and Janata Express, derailed within minutes of each other while crossing flooded tracks in Madhya Pradesh last night.
According to West Central Railway PRO Piyush Mathur seven coaches of Kamayani Express and three coaches plus the engine of Janata Express were derailed late last night as the base material on the tracks got washed away.
“Seven bogies of Kamayani Express and engine plus three coaches of Janata Express were derailed between Khirkiya?and Bhirangi stations near Harda,” Mathur said.
The PRO said: “The mishap took place around 11.30 PM on Tuesday as base material of the tracks got washed away in heavy rains. Nearly 25 passengers suffered injuries.”
Meanwhile, rescue operations continued even as several passengers were feared trapped in water after coaches of both the train plunged into the river.
Divisional Commercial Railway Manager (DCRM) Brajendra Kumar said that many passengers were rescued from the stranded trains.
Dismissing reports of negligence behind the twin train derailment, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha on Wednesday said the tragedy occurred due to natural reasons rather than human error.
Sinha told media persons: “This is a very sad incident. I believe that this happened because of natural reasons and not because of human error. Wherever there is black cotton soil, there is bound to be soil erosion. Railway is serious about safety, and we constantly monitor our tracks,”
He further said: “I dismiss the reports that it happened due to negligence.”
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will visit the spot where the two trains derailed.
Earlier, Chouhan had expressed his condolences to the families of those who died in the train accidents and said the state government is providing all possible medical assistance at the site.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday expressed shock and grief over the twin rail accidents and extended her condolences to the family of the deceased.
She also hoped that adequate relief and rescue was being undertaken by the authorities concerned.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed condolences over the mishap and assured help to those affected by the tragedy.
Several NDRF teams have been rushed to the site of the derailment to carry out relief and rescue operations.
The Railways has also set up helpline numbers. These are Harda: 09752460088, Bhopal: 07554061609, Bina: 075802222, Itarsi: 0758422419200.
(With Agency Inputs)