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Tamil Nadu Express on fire

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A totally charred coach from inside is seen of a passenger train

Help line numbers in Chennai: 044-25357398 and 044-25330821. Other numbers in Nellore, Secunderabad, Warangal and Hazrat Nizamuddin are given below, from a report by IBN Live.

CBS News reports the first deadly accident this week on the Indian Railways:

A railway station worker noticed [a] burning coach as the overnight train from New Delhi to the southeastern city of Chennai passed through the town of Nellore at about 4 a.m. said local official B. Sridhar. Nellor is nearly 310 miles south of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state.

Once the alarm was raised, the train was stopped and the passenger car detached from the rest of the train to prevent the blaze from spreading.

Passengers were evacuated once the train was halted.

“Since the fire had engulfed one door of the coach, people had to rush to the other end of the coach to exit,” Sridhar told The Associated Press by telephone, speaking from the accident site.

He said the fire may have been caused by an electrical short circuit in the coach.

The blaze killed 47 people, said Anil Kumar, regional railway manager

At least 28 other passengers were hospitalized with burns, Sridhar said, adding that at least two of the injured were in critical condition.

The Hindu adds:

Coaches from S-11 were delinked and sent to Nellore Railway Station. Passengers from other coaches, including those with minor injuries were accommodated on the same train.

Ahmed, who resides in Chromepet near Chennai, along with five of his friends, had boarded the train from New Delhi. “We were travelling on S-12. I heard people screaming from nearby compartments. We tried to escape but all doors were locked… Someone pulled the chain and the train stopped,” he recalls.

Anxious relatives and friends queued up at the Central Station since 7 a.m. after the news broke out.

The Railways has prominently displayed at its premises the details of 14 passengers who are admitted at various hospitals. Helplines were also opened. Relatives can contact 044-25357398/25330821 for further details.

IBN Live reports:

Thirty two people died in the incident and 25 people were said to be injured. Out of the 32 dead, 19 were males, 6 females, 3 children and four were said to be unrecognizable, according to Sambasiva Rao, CPRO, South Central Railway.

“Forensic help will be taken for identification,” he said, adding, “Reports that the door was jammed have come to us. Those will be investigated.”

The death toll is likely to rise further.

The Chairman of the Railway Board and Railway Minister Mukul Roy are expected to reach the site shortly. An ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh to the relatives of the dead has been announced. In addition, an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh will be paid to the grievously injured and an ex-gratia of Rs 25,000 will be paid to the simple injured passengers.

The Railway Minister has also ordered an inquiry into the incident.

The helpline numbers at Nellore are 0861-2345863, 864, 865, 866 and 0866-2576924; At Secunderabad: 040–27786723, 27700868, 27786539; At Warangal: 0870-2426232, 09701371063.

Meanwhile, the Northern Railway has opened helpline numbers 011-23342954, 23341072, 23341074 at New Delhi Station and 011-24359748 at Hazrat Nizamuddin Station.

VSK Komdi, Additional DG Railways, Andhra Pradesh has also appealed anxious relatives of passengers of the S-11 coach to send particulars of their near and dear ones to the following email-id: apgrp@yahoo.com.

The list of the injured

At Government Hospital, Nellore:

1) KK Sunil Kumar, New Delhi-Chennai

2) Amarpreet Singh, New Delhi-Chennai (S11-57)

3) Venkata Koteshwar Rao, Vijayawada-Chennai (S11-32)

4) Raghavan, Bhopal-Chennai

5) Sandeep Agnihotri, New Delhi-Chennai

6) SS Verma (S11-22)

7) Veena, along with Baby Arshitha of 1year age, New Delhi-Chennai (S11-63)

8) Hussain, New Delhi-Chennai (S11-47)

9) Rekha, New Delhi-Chennai (S11-5)

10) Sukhdeep Singh (S11-59)

11) Sambasiva Rao

At Peoples Poly Clinic, Nellore:

1) V Krushi, Vijayawada-Chennai (S11-27)

2) C Vijaya Kumar, Warangal-Chennai (S11-24)

At Jai Bharat Hospital, Nellore:

1) S Prakash Singh, Jhansi-Chennai (S11-33)

2) Shoba Singh, Jhansi-Chennai (S11-36)

3) Ch Udaya bhaskar, Vijayawada-Chennai (S11-62)

4) G Ramchandra Srinivas, Warangal-Chennai (S11-67)

5) Kumud Kumar Bansal, Agra-Chennai (S11-16)

6) Prasamsa Bansal, Agra-Chennai (S11-13)

7) M Sujanmal Sarada Parekh, New Delhi-Chennai (S12-12)

At Bollineni Hospital, Nellore:

1) S Madanlal

2) Uttam Kumar

3) Anusha

4) Tirupathiamma

5) Sampath Kumar

No information ever emerges from the black hole of Kolkata, where the railway ministry is parked. Deccan Herald reports:

Thirty-two people were today charred to death and 25 others injured when a fire broke out in a coach of New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express near here with Railway Minister Mukul Roy indicating that there could have been a blast.

In Kolkata, the Railway Minister said, “Some of the injured passengers admitted to hospitals and a gateman at one of the level crossings near Nellore station heard a loud sound when the fire occurred in the coach”.

Roy said that the Divisional Railway Manager had also said that there was a report of a blast even as the minister maintained that nothing can be “excluded” as to what caused the fire.

Asked if he suspected any act of sabotage, Roy said, “I will not say anything at this stage.” He said that there was a talk about short circuit as also some inflammable substance being carried by a passenger.

31 July, 2012

A disagreement has arisen between the local fire department, which was the first agency to reach the spot, and the railways, as the Hindu reports:

Officials from the Fire Department and Railways were clearly heading for a showdown over the reasons behind the mysterious fire that broke out in the S11 coach of Tamil Nadu Express on Monday. While the Fire Department officials, who were the first to reach the spot, maintained that they did not find a trace of kerosene, the railway authorities on the other hand claimed that they found traces of kerosene indicating links to sabotage.

“Neither did we find traces of kerosene nor smell it soon after our fire-fighters entered the compartment. Our personnel entered the compartment moments after the fire-fighting operation concluded around 5.30 a.m.,” said Nellore District Fire Officer G. Srinivasulu.

It would be more convenient for the railways to find traces of kerosene in the vicinity of the fire. It cannot escape anyone’s attention that this impacts the core issues in the brouhaha that removed the previous railway minister in the middle of the budget process in the parliament, namely railway safety. Loss of lives has never been a concern to the political ambition of the Trinamool Congress.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

July 30, 2012 at 9:29 am

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