Last Updated: June 05, 2023, 09:06 IST
Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw prayed on the sidelines as the first train moved on the restored train tracks where the Balasore tragedy unfolded. A video showed Vaishnaw folding his hands in prayer as the inaugural train, BoxN loaded with coal moved on the recently restored tracks. This train carried coal from the Rourkela steel plant, originating from the Vizag port, and was headed towards HSPG (Rourkela).
Indian Railways has also started running passenger trains on the restored tracks.
“Everyone has done a great job. I feel great sadness for the affected families but we will get to the root cause of the incident and whoever is responsible will be severely punished,” the Railways Minister said.
A three-way collision involving the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, and a goods train near Balasore’s Bahanaga Bazar station on June 2 claimed over 250 lives leaving more than a thousand injured.
Railway Minister Vaishnaw said that the “root cause” of the accident and the people responsible for the criminal act have been identified.
“It happened due to a change made in the electronic interlocking and point machine,” he said. Explaining the issue further, Member of Operations and Business Development, Railway Board, Jaya Verma Sinha said, “There is a probability of some kind of signalling interference…whether it was manual or incidental, wear and tear related, maintenance failure or weather related will come out in the CRS inquiry.”
The Odisha government revised the death toll in the three-train crash to 275 from 288 saying some bodies were counted twice earlier. The local administration is facing a challenge storing and managing 187 unidentified bodies.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has sought a CBI enquiry into the accident.