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Odisha train crash: Official death toll rises to 238, says Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena

Bhubaneshwar: Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena on Saturday confirmed that the death toll has risen to 238 in the Odisha train crash that occurred in Balasore on Friday evening.
Jena said that even though several 'conflicting' figures are being claimed, the official and confirmable death toll in the horrific train accident in Odisha's Balasore is 238. He also said that efforts are underway to cut the remaining bogie to recover the deceased and injured.
Speaking to ANI, Jena said, "The bogies are severely damaged and they have been compressed from various sides. That's why it is taking time in cutting the bogies. We discussed that we have to do it very professionally. We can't just cut them using cranes. Therefore, we have brought plasma cutters, gas cutters and hydraulic clips. Hopefully, in 2-3 hours, they will be able to get inside the bogie".
On being asked about the latest death toll, he said that there are many conflicting figures but the official toll as of now is 238 only.
"Some conflicting figures are coming. Our district magistrate and senior officers are busy coordinating hospitals and other things. Maybe in half an hour, I would be able to give a little closer figure. The last figure the DM confirmed to me was 238. Some media channels are saying the number is 270, 288 and 300 plus. But we can confirm. About 900 people are injured and they are getting necessary treatment," the Chief Secretary said.
He also appreciated the voluntary support being given by the people.
"The people are coming voluntarily to donate blood. I am getting requests from many places so it is a good sign. Since the accident now, the local people have been providing a lot of assistance to our rescue professionals," he added.
The death toll in the Odisha train accident involving two express trains -- Bengaluru-Howrah Express and Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express -- and a goods train in Balasore reached 238 on Saturday, South Eastern Railway said
Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on adjacent tracks. The 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express coming from the opposite direction on the parallel track rammed into the derailed coaches. Some 12 Coromandel Express coaches derail and hit the stationary goods train on the third track.
According to Railway spokesperson Amitabh Sharma, the accident took place around 7 pm on Friday.
Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reached the spot and supervised the rescue operation"
A detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted and the rail safety commissioner will also do an independent inquiry," Vaishnaw said on Saturday.
He added, "Our focus is on rescue and relief operations. Restoration will begin after clearance from the district administration". (ANI)

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