Wed, 27 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], June 4 (ANI): Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks on a visit to the site of the horrific triple train accident in Odisha's Balasore, on Saturday, posing a set of nine questions to him.

The Congress leader tweeted, "Initial News Reports suggest that Balasore, Odisha Train Crash happened owing to the failure of the signalling system. But the Railway Minister and Rail Ministry were immune to the critical warning on the failure of the Signalling System that had been given.""On 9 February 2023, the Chief Operating Manager, of South Western Railway Zone wrote on the failure of the Signalling System by stating, 'serious flaws in the system where the route of dispatch gets altered after a train starts on signals with the correct appearance of the route in the SMS panel. This contravenes the essence and basic principles of interlocking'," the Congress leader claimed in his tweet.

He also warned that if the signal maintenance system was not monitored and corrected immediately, it could lead to "re-occurrence and serious accidents", Surjewala claimed further.

"Why was Rail MinisterRailway Ministry immune or ignorant or negligent," he tweeted further.

Surjewala added, "Why did recent derailment of a number of Goods Trains, where a number of Loco Pilots died and wagons were destroyed, didn't raise enough alarms on lack of Rail Safety forcing the Minister and Railway Ministry to take appropriate measures."He further questioned, "Is it correct that Rail Minister is more concerned with marketing and pleasing the Prime Minister rather than concentrating on Railway Safety? Is the Rail Minister too preoccupied with making the PM launch Vande Bharat Trains, refurbishing Railway Stations (tweeting their pictures) and increasing revenues rather than looking at the arduous job of ensuring passenger safety?""Is this the reason why the Railway Minister largely skipped the presentation on Railway Safety on 2 June 2023 in the Chintan Shivir (hours before the OdishaTrainAccident ) and concentrated on the launch of Vande Bharat Trains and increased revenues," the Congress leader posted.

"Isn't the increased lapse of Railway Safety owing to lack of required human resources - availability of foot soldiers like Gang man, Station Masters, Loco Pilots etc? Isn't it correct that the majority of 39 Railway Zones lack the required human resource as per an RTI reply given by railways? Isn't it correct that 3,11,000 Posts of Group C are vacant in Railways thereby jeopardising the Rail Safety as also operational efficacy? Isn't it correct that 3,081 out of 18,881 Gazetted Cadre posts are lying vacant in Railways?" Surjewala tweeted.

"How is it possible to run an effective and safe operation in the absence of staff," questioned the Congress leader.

The horrific triple train accident has claimed the lives of 288 passengers so far and has left over 1,000 injured.

Surjwala stated, "Isn't it correct that the Year 2022-23 saw 48 "Consequential Train Accidents" (train accidents having serious repercussions in terms of loss of lives, property etc.) as compared to 35 such accidents the previous year? Isn't it correct that the Year 2022-23 witnessed 165 'Non Consequential Train Accidents", including 35 cases of "Signal Passed at Danger - SPAD'?"The preliminary report on the tragedy said that the three-way accident involved Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and the goods train on three separate tracks at Bahanaga Bazar Station in Balasore district.

It had said that 17 coaches of these two trains were derailed and severely damaged in the accident that occurred on Friday evening.

According to the Odisha health department, 1,175 patients were admitted to private hospitals out of which 793 patients have been discharged till now while 382 patients continue to be in hospital of which two are critical, and the rest are stable.

After surveying the site of the accident on Saturday, PM Modi said a probe was underway into the derailment and those behind the lapses won't be spared.

At the site PM Modi spoke to Cabinet Secretary and Health Minister and asked them to ensure all needed help is provided to the injured and their families, government sources said.

After taking stock of the crash incident, PM Modi visited Fakir Mohan Hospital, Balasore, where some of the passengers injured in Friday's accident involving three trains were admitted."It's a painful incident. The government can't bring back the lives lost, but we are with the families of the victims at this difficult hour. The government has taken very serious note of the incident and will no stone unturned to ensure proper treatment of the injured. Instructions have been given to investigate the accident and those found guilty will not be spared," PM Modi said. (ANI)

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