Kalinga Utkal Express derailment: The mishap took place around 5.45 pm on Saturday. (Source: Twitter/@ani)
At least 23 people were killed and over 65 injured as 14 coaches of Puri-Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli area of Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday. The accident took place around 5.45 pm. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said he is personally monitoring the situation and that he has directed senior officials to take stock of the situation and ensure speedy rescue and relief operations.
The Union Railway Minister has also announced an ex gratia of Rs 3.5 lakh for the families of those deceased in the accident. Those who have suffered serious injuries will be given Rs 50,000, while those with minor injuries will be given Rs 25 thousand. The cause of the derailment is yet to be ascertained.
Meanwhile, political leaders have expressed their anguish over the derailment.
President Ram Nath Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind said his thoughts are with the deceased and their families. “Sad at train derailment in UP; my thoughts are with deceased and their families. Injured are being rescued & provided relief,” the President’s official Twitter handle tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the situation is being very closely monitored by Railways Ministry. “Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” the PMO tweeted on Saturday evening.
“Railways Ministry and UP Government are doing everything possible & providing all assistance required in the wake of the train derailment,” he added while wishing a speedy recovery to the injured.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said his sympathies are with the victims and their kin. “This is an unfortunate incident, we are in constant touch with the Rail Ministry,” he said while speaking to news agency ANI. “We don’t have exact numbers on casualties but we have sent our two ministers Satish Mahana and Suresh Rana to the spot,” he added, ensuring the UP government will give all help and support required in the rescue and relief operation.
He said that directions have been issued to police and other agencies to provide all possible assistance and the injured will be given complete treatment.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said he was shocked over the incident. “Shocked to know about the unfortunate accident of Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts with the families who lost their loved ones,” he tweeted.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav
Lalu Prasad Yadav asked for the resignation of the Railway Minister. “How will people travel if there is no guarantee of safety. Railway Minister should resign,” he said.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
“PM is monitoring it, has talked to Railway Minister and UP CM. MLA from Odisha Ravi Naik will visit spot”
Muzaffarnagar MP Sanjav Balyan
“I have seen few dead bodies, can’t say the exact number, many injured. Manoj Sinha ji has left from Delhi”