Devastating Three-Train Collision in Odisha Claims Over 280 Lives and Injures Hundreds

In one of India’s deadliest railway accidents in more than two decades, a catastrophic three-train collision in Balasore, Odisha, has left a trail of devastation. The collision involving the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, and a goods train resulted in at least 288 fatalities and around 803 injuries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the site of the accident to meet with the injured and offered condolences to the affected families. As the nation mourns this tragic incident, efforts are underway to investigate the cause and provide support to the victims.

The Incident

The collision occurred near the Bahanaga Bazar station, approximately 270 kilometers south of Kolkata and 170 kilometers north of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha. The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation, and conflicting accounts have emerged regarding the sequence of events. However, reports suggest that the Coromandel Express derailed first, with several of its coaches overturning onto the opposite track. Within minutes, the Howrah Superfast Express collided with the overturned carriages, causing further derailments and extensive damage.

Eyewitness Accounts

Survivors of the horrific crash described the terrifying ordeal. Sanjay Mukhia, a passenger on the Coromandel-Shalimar Express, recounted the moment of impact, stating, “Everything was shaking, and we could feel the coach toppling.” Another survivor mentioned the harrowing scene, with severed limbs scattered amidst the wreckage. The immediate aftermath of the collision revealed a devastating scene of twisted and lifted carriages, as well as a crushed passenger section.

Response and Investigations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed their condolences and visited the injured at hospitals. The railway ministry has initiated a high-level committee, led by the commissioner of railway safety for the south-eastern circle, to investigate the accident thoroughly. The committee aims to determine the precise cause of the collision and identify any lapses or technical failures that may have contributed to the tragedy.

Compensation and Mourning

In recognition of the immense loss suffered by the affected families, the Indian government and state authorities have announced compensation measures. Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced compensation of ₹10 lakh for the families of the deceased, ₹2 lakh for those seriously injured, and ₹50,000 for individuals with minor injuries. Additionally, Prime Minister Modi declared compensation of ₹2 lakh for the families of the deceased and ₹50,000 for the injured from the PM’s National Relief Fund. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declared a one-day state mourning to honor the victims.

Impact on Rail Services

The collision has severely impacted rail services in the region. A significant number of trains have been canceled, diverted, or short-terminated as a result of the accident. Authorities are working diligently to restore normalcy to the rail network while ensuring passenger safety.

The three-train collision in Odisha’s Balasore has left a deep scar on the nation, claiming the lives of over 280 individuals and leaving hundreds injured. As investigations progress to determine the exact cause of the accident, the Indian government, along with state authorities, is committed to providing support and compensation to the affected families. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of robust safety measures and constant vigilance in the railway sector to prevent such tragic occurrences in the future.

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