Hirakhand Express tragedy: Sonia Gandhi expresses concern over rise in train accidents

| Updated: Jan 22, 2017 16:12 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 20 (ANI): Expressing shock and anguish at the tragic Hirakhand Express train derailment in Andhra Pradesh which has claimed 27 lives so far, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi said that she was concerned over the rising number of train accidents, and hoped that the Indian Railways will undertake lasting measures to ensure railway safety. In a statement, Gandhi expressed her condolences to all families who have lost their near & dear ones in this tragedy hoped that Railway authorities and the State Government are undertaking relief and rescue operations expeditiously, besides providing medical help. "Mrs. Gandhi hoped that Railways will undertake lasting measures to ensure railway safety is a priority," the statement by Congress read. Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also offered his condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in the accident. Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his condolences to the kin of the deceased and assured that the Railway Ministry is closely monitoring the situation. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also tweeted saying that the NDRF teams have already reached the spot to carry out rescue and relief operations. One NDRF team from Visakhapatnam is present at the derailment site in Andhra and four teams from Bhubaneswar are en route for rescue operations. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced rupees two lakh as compensation for the kin of deceased in the horrific Hirakhand express derailment in Andhra Pradesh last night, which claimed the lives of 26 people. He also announced 25,000 rupees for the injured and 50,000 rupees for the seriously injured. Prabhu, along with Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal, is rushing to the derailment site in Andhra. At least 26 people were killed and more than 50 injured when coaches of Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Express derailed near Kuneru station in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh last night. Chief PRO of East Cost Railway JP Mishra said the incident took place around 11 PM when the train was going to Bhubaneswar. He said, four accident relief vans have been sent to the accident site. He said, the reason behind the incident is yet to be ascertained. Meanwhile, Railway Ministry sources have told ANI that the element of sabotage has not been ruled out yet. The number of casualties are likely to go up as the train was running at high speed while crossing Kuneru station where it had no stoppage. The injured have been shifted to hospitals at Parbatipuram and Rayagada. A team of doctors have reached the accident site. Vijayanagaram and Rayagada District Administration are taking active part in rescue operations. Several trains on Vijayanagaram and Rayagada routes have been diverted. (ANI)