After the derailment of the Thiruvananthapuram-Mangaluru express train near Kochi, an expert committee appointed by the Southern Railway has found that the permanent way inspector of the area did not take necessary action after seeing fissures on the track. He has been suspended.
Speaking exclusively to THE WEEK, Union Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu, said that the derailment of the train was unfortunate and was regretted. “I view this incident very seriously. Based on preliminary inputs, a permanent way inspector involved in track maintenance has already been put under suspension.”
The minister said he had asked the Railway Board to take immediate measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents. “After the incident, I have ordered that an intensive audit of all points and crossings across the railway network in the country be conducted from September 1. This is to improve maintenance practices and for better safety-related training,” he said.
Railways have ordered a detailed probe into the incident.
Said Anil Kumar Saxena, national spokesman, Railways, to THE WEEK: "A committee of four SAG level officers of Southern Railway headed by chief safety officer, consisting of chief track engineer, chief rolling stock engineer (CRSE/Freight) and chief electrical locomotive engineer has been constituted to hold a high level detailed enquiry into the incident.”
He said one female passenger, who suffered shoulder sprain, was provided medical assistance by railway doctors and civilian doctors.
“The local Railway Administration undertook massive relief, rescue and restoration operation in full swing. The stranded passengers of the affected train were transported by buses to the next railhead and from there they were taken to their respective destinations through special trains. In addition, the stranded passengers of many other trains stuck up due to line block were also transported using buses and special trains,” said Saxena.
Twelve coaches of the Thiruvananthapuram-Mangaluru Express derailed near Karukutty station at 2.55 am on Sunday. Train traffic in the busy Ernakulam-Thrissur stretch was severely affected, with railway authorities cancelling and diverting many trains.