Odisha Train Accident: A tragic incident unfolded Friday evening in Odisha’s Balasore district as the Coromandel Express, traveling from Shalimar station in West Bengal to Chennai, collided with derailed coaches. With an estimated count of at least 179 people injured, there are concerns about potential fatalities. Alongside the passenger train, a goods train was also involved in the accident, according to Pradeep Jena, the Chief Secretary of Odisha.
The collision occurred near the Bahanaga railway station. It has left numerous passengers of the express train feared dead, while others remain trapped within the overturned coaches of the high-speed train.
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Detailed Reports of the Train Accident
Reports quoted Railway Spokesperson Amitabh Sharma, who stated, “Around 7 pm, approximately 10-12 coaches of the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express derailed near Baleswar, tumbling onto the adjacent track. Subsequently, another train from Yeswanthpur to Howrah collided with these derailed coaches, causing the derailment of three to four coaches.”
The injured passengers have been admitted to Balasore Medical College, as well as the Community Health Centers in Soro and Gopalpur, along with a Primary Health Centre in Khantapada. Among the 179 injured passengers, 30 are currently in critical condition.
What is the Odisha Government Doing to Control Damage?
The Special Relief Commissioner’s office has dispatched search and rescue teams to the accident site. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has instructed Pramila Mallik, the state’s Disaster Management minister, senior SRC officers, and fire services personnel to oversee the operation. Furthermore, the Chief Minister personally visited the control room at the Special Relief Commissioner’s office to assess the situation.
To facilitate the operation, the state government is making arrangements for generators and lighting at the accident site. Three teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have also arrived.
Addressing the challenges faced, Pradeep Jena, Odisha’s Chief Secretary, mentioned that approximately 50 ambulances are present at the accident site. However, the number of injured passengers exceeds the vehicles’ capacity.
He added, “A significant number of buses are being mobilized to transport the injured to hospitals.”
The District Magistrate of Balasore has received instructions to reach the accident site and make all necessary arrangements. If additional assistance is required from the state level, the District Magistrate will inform the Special Relief Commissioner accordingly.
Visuals from the site depict the Coromandel Express engine perched atop the goods train following the collision. Initial information suggests that both trains were on the same track. An investigation has been initiated to determine the cause of the accident.
West Bengal CM Comes to the Rescue
Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, stated that her government is cooperating with the Odisha government and the South Eastern Railways to aid the rescue operation. Additionally, a team of five to six members from Bengal will be sent to support the Odisha government.
Helpline numbers have been established in various areas to assist accident victims and address inquiries. For Balasore, the helpline numbers are 8249591559 and 7978418322, while for Howrah, it is 033-26382217. The helpline numbers for Kharagpur are 8972073925 and 9332392339, and for Shalimar, it is 9903370746.
The collision near the Bahanaga railway station has resulted in disruptions to the schedules of several trains, with many being canceled or diverted.