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“This is not the time do to politics…” Railway minister on Mamata Banerjee’s remark on the death count of Balasore train accident 

The collision between the trains resulted in the crushing and complete sabotage of several coaches and the passengers being stuck inside.

Balasore, Odisha: Union Railway Ashwini Vaishnaw on Saturday night responded Mamata Banerjee remark that the death toll from the train accident could be as high as 500. Union Minister said that we want full transparency and this is not the time to do politics. He said that this is the time to focus on making sure that the restoration of train services happens as early as possible.

A verbal duel was recorded between West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav when CM Mamata visited the accident site in Balasore on Saturday afternoon.

During an interaction with the media in the presence of the railway minister, CM Mamata said that the death toll could be as high as 500. The Union minister Ashwini immediately responded by saying that according to the figures of the Odisha government, the casualty number stands at 238 (It has gone up since then). Mamata Banerjee reacted to it saying that figure was of Friday night and three coaches are still due for the rescue operation. So death can still rise.

Ashwini Vaishnav is on the accident site since Friday night and reviewing the rescue operation since then. He has closely monitored the rescue work that was underway till Friday.

The Railway minister has ordered a high-level inquiry into the accident with the rail safety commissioner himself heading the probe. So far the actual reason for the accident is not clear. 

How did the accident occur?

This accident happened due to the derailment of coaches involving three trains: Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express, Howrah Superfast Express and a stationary goods train.

As per the Railway spokesperson, Amitabh Sharma, around 10 to 12 coaches of Coromandal Express derailed first and collided with goods train standing on the opposite track. Some of its coaches hit the Howrah superfast express that was coming on the adjacent track which lead to the derailment of its own coaches. 

The collision between these three trains resulted in the crushing and complete sabotage of several coaches and the passengers being stuck inside.

Prime Minister Modi arrived at the accident site in Balasore yesterday to take stock of the situation. He met with the victims of the accident at the hospital in Baladore as well. PM Modi in his media briefing said that strict action will be taken against those found guilty in the train accident incident. “No one will be spared”, said the Prime Minister.

The Restoration work is still underway at the accident site involving more than 1000 workers as per the railway ministry. Heavy machinery was involved, including seven pocketing machines four road cranes and a 140-tonne railway crane. 

Ashwini Vaishnaw is still on the accident site and monitoring the restoration work. The railway minister has said that the restoration of train services on the accident site is expected by Tuesday night or maximum by Wednesday morning.

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