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"...Home Ministry is assisting us": Railway Board on rescue, investigation of Odisha train mishap

New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs is assisting the Railway Board in the rescue and investigation of the tragic train accident in Odisha's Balasore that claimed 275 lives.
"Not NIA, Ministry of Home Affairs is assisting us," the Member of Operation and Business Development in Railway Board, Jaya Varma Sinha said on Sunday while addressing a press conference in the national capital. She told ANI that at least two railway lines are expected to be operational by Sunday night, but as of now the reason of accident can't be authenticated.
"With restoration work underway, at least two railway lines are expected to be operational by 8 pm today at the site. We expect that trains will start running at a low speed. Inquiry is underway, we are investigating all angles. Prima facie it appears to be an issue of signalling, but we cannot authenticate anything as of now," she said.
The Railway Board member added that the top priority of the Railways is to make sure that the evidence and witnesses are not tampered or affected.
"Safety is the top priority for Railways. We are making sure that the evidence does not get tampered with and that any witness does not get affected. The driver of the train who sustained serious injuries said that the train moved forward only after it received a 'Green' signal. Neither did he jump any signal nor the train was overspeeding," she further said.
She had also said during the press conference that the goods train did not get derailed, but since it was carrying iron ores, the Coromandel Express suffered the maximum damage.
"The goods train did not get derailed. Since the goods train was carrying iron ores, the maximum damage of the impact was on Coromandel Express. This is the reason for a huge number of deaths and injuries," said Jaya Varma Sinha.
Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Secy Pradeep Jena clarified that the death toll is 275 and not 288, it was checked and found that some bodies were counted twice.
"The death toll is 275 and not 288. The data was checked by DM and it was found that some bodies have been counted twice, so the death toll has been revised to 275. Out of 275, 88 bodies have been identified," Jena told ANI.
"Out of 1,175 injured, 793 have been discharged after treatment. The figure will be updated around 2 pm," he added.
As per the Ministry of Railways, the restoration work is going in full swing and the officials are closely monitoring the restoration process at the accident site.
A manpower of over 1000 people is engaged in the work. More than seven Poclain Machines, two Accident Relief Trains, and 3-4 Railway and Road Cranes are deployed, the Ministry stated. (ANI)

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