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Wednesday May 29, 2024

Fresh train mishap strikes India’s Odisha, mere days after fatal crash

According to Indian media, no casualties reported in latest accident, as train was carrying cargo of limestones

By Web Desk
June 05, 2023
Photograph of the private goods train which derailed today. — Times of India
Photograph of the private goods train which derailed today. — Times of India

In a harrowing turn of events, India's Odisha state witnessed yet another train disaster just three days after a catastrophic three-train collision.

The latest incident involved privately operated goods train that derailed on Monday in Odisha’s Bargarh area, adding to the already devastating toll of the nation's deadliest railway accident in the past 20 years.

The previous collision, which occurred in Balasore and is 450 kilometres away from the site of today's incident, has claimed the lives of 275 individuals, leaving over 1,000 others injured and the nation grappling with the profound loss and grief.

According to Indian media reports, no casualties were reported in the latest accident, as the train was carrying a cargo of limestones. The cause of the derailment remains uncertain at this point, as stated in a report by the Hindustan Times.

The East Coast Railway (ECoR) clarified that some wagons of a goods train operated by a private cement factory derailed inside the factory premises near Mendhapali of the Bargarh district, the Deccan Herald reported.

"There is no role of Railways in this matter."

"This is completely a narrow gauge siding of a private cement company. All the infrastructure including rolling stock, like; engine, wagons, train track (narrow gauge) are being maintained by the company, only,” ECoR said.

Meanwhile, Railway teams worked non-stop restoring tracks after India's deadliest train crash in decades, a tragedy that has reignited safety concerns about one of the largest networks in the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pushed a $30 billion railway infrastructure modernisation in a bid to boost India's economy and connectivity, with trains the preferred and cheapest mode of long-distance travel for both people and goods.

On Saturday, when Modi viewed the mangled wreckage, offered condolences to the families of the nearly 300 killed in the triple-train crash and visited some of the hundreds of injured, he had been due to launch a modern electric train fitted with a state-of-the-art safety feature to prevent collisions.

Experts said the crash on Friday at Balasore in the eastern state of Odisha showed India's complex and often antiquated railway system still has far to go.

"Pure operational failures are not uncommon on Indian railways," former top railways official Subodh Jain told AFP. "Safety mechanisms are now far more robust, but it's a work in progress".

Indian Railways, the world's fourth largest rail network, runs some 14,000 trains daily with 8,000 locomotives over a vast system of tracks some 64,000 kilometres (40,000 miles) long.

Carrying more than 21 million passengers each day, according to official figures, the network is under enormous pressure in a country which has recently become the world's most populous.