NATIONAL

Negligence of railway staff led to derailment

AMBAJOGAI (MAHARASHTRA) JAN. 3. Gross negligence on the part of the Assistant Station Master manning the Ghatnandur railway station on the Vikarabad-Parbhani section of the South Central Railway led to the derailment of the Secunderabad-Manmad Express in the wee hours of Friday.

However, the alert driver of the train saved the lives of many passengers by applying the emergency brakes and avoiding a collision with the stationary goods train.

The casualties would have been very high had the express rammed the goods train.

The railway officials are fuming that the ASM and other staff fled from the scene of the accident.

It was left to two senior railway officials, travelling in the same train, to take charge of the situation and alert the higher-ups for relief. But for the two officers, the situation would have been worse.

The railway authorities also rose to the occasion. The first relief van arrived from Purna within hours of the accident and the restoration work began at a brisk pace.

The South Central Railway General Manager, S.M. Singla, attributed the accident to human error. The ASM, two pointsmen, besides the Traffic Inspector and Divisional Safety Officer have been placed under suspension.

The chairman of the Railway Board, I.I.M.S. Rana, the Member (mechanical), Dashrathi, the Member (traffic), Srivatsava, the Member (electrical) Arvind Sharma, the Additional Member (safety), Sahay, the Executive Director (coaching) V.N. Mathur, and the Executive Director (corporate communication), Satish Agnihothri, rushed to the spot from Delhi.

The services of an Indian Air Force helicopter proved handy. Two small injured children, who were referred to Hyderabad for advanced treatment, were airlifted along with their parents. The timely rescue saved their lives.

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