Over 35 killed in Hirakhand Express derailment in Andhra Pradesh
At least 39 people were killed and over 60 injured as the engine and nine coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuneru railway station in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district bordering Odisha. The train was on its way to the Odisha capital Bhubaneswar from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh.
The incident occurred on Saturday at 11.30 pm. Seniro Railway officials said nine coaches – a luggage van, two general and four sleeper coaches, a second-cum-third AC coach, a third AC coach – and the engine derailed.
Railway sources said there are indications of foul play as a goods train passed the same track just two hours before the mishap, which occurred in the Naxal-prone zone just ahead of the Republic Day. However, Odisha Police ruled out involvement of Maoists in the mishap.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh under an insurance scheme to the kin of passengers from the state who were lost their lives in the train mishap. This amount would be in addition to the Rs 2 lakh ex gratia announced by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, the Chief Minister announced on Twitter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders expressed grief over the incident. The PM said the Railway Ministry was monitoring the situation very closely and working to ensure quick rescue and relief operations.
The Odisha government also announced that families of the victims hailing from Odisha would get the benefit of ex-gratia of Rs five lakh.