The death toll in the train collision incident at Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh touched 13 on Monday morning, Superintendent of Police M Deepika said. As many as 50 people have been injured.
The mishap occurred on Sunday evening when the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train hit the Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger train from the rear at Kantakapalli, about 40 km from Visakhapatnam. Following the incident, 33 trains have been cancelled, 22 trains diverted and 11 trains partially cancelled.
Biswajit Sahu, Chief Public Relations Officer of the East Coast Railway, told ANI that the track restoration work is currently underway. "We are presently focusing on the track restoration work as the rescue operation is over. We have arranged buses and trains for the stranded passengers. We plan to clear the track by 4 pm today," Sahu added.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav spoke with Chief Minister YS Jagan on Sunday evening and briefed him about the steps being taken to "help" the victims of the Andhra train accident. The Andhra CMO Office said in a statement that the government will provide Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh for those seriously injured in the accident.
"In case of death of people from other states, Rs 2 lakh each will be provided as compensation for bereaved families and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured," the CMO Office posted on X.
Meanwhile, human error is suspected to have caused the accident. According to Waltair Division Railway manager Saurabh Prasad, two passenger trains were running through the middle line. "The rear train came and overshot the signal as a result of which we had around five coaches, three of the front train and two of the rear train which have derailed" Prasad told reporters on Sunday.
However, he refused to confirm the cause of the accident until the investigation was complete. "Once the investigation is complete, we will be able to say anything regarding the cause," he said, adding that NDRF and the AP state DRF team are assisting the Railway team.
The Palasa train was reportedly waiting for a signal due to a technical snag between Alamanda and Kantakapalli stations on the Howrah-Chennai line when the accident happened. Reports quoting Railways sources said the tragedy was a result of human error and the loco-pilot of the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada train did not notice the signal.