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Balasore train accident: Seven railway employees suspended for negligence of duty, including 3 arrested by CBI

7 people including the station master, traffic inspector, telecom engineer and four signalling staff have been suspended for not being alert during duty hours causing the train accident

On Wednesday, the 12th of July, a Senior Railway official informed that seven railway employees have been suspended in connection with the Balasore train accident case. The employees have been suspended on charges of negligence of duty. Allegedly, their negligence led to the tragic triple train accident at Bahanaga Bazar station in Odisha’s Balasore district on the 2nd of June. 

According to media reports, the suspension order was issued on Friday, the 7th of July. 

The suspended employees include the three accused that were earlier arrested by CBI on the 7th of July. The other suspended employees include the station master who was on duty on the day of the accident, the traffic inspector at Balasore, a signal technician, and the assistant divisional telecom engineer. However, the names of the suspended employees have not been revealed. 

Speaking to the media, South-Eastern Railway General Manager Anil Kumar Mishra informed about this decision. He stressed that if these staffers had been alert, the tragic mishap could have been averted. 

Mishra said, “The CBI has arrested 3 staff till now. Currently, 7 people including the station master, traffic inspector, and maintainer have been suspended for not being alert during duty hours. Had they been alert, the tragic train mishap could have been averted.”

He added that according to the Railway norms, any employee arrested for 24 hours automatically stands suspended. All three arrested staff are from the signalling department and another one from the department has been suspended now.

The suspensions came after an inspection of the Bahanaga Bazar and Balasore railway stations on Wednesday. The Railway officer further stated that they are inspecting the entire route from Bhadrak to Kharagpur. General Manager Anil Kumar Mishra said that they have planned to replace the entire system on the route. The systems are 20 year old, and while generally they are replaced in 25 years, it will be done in the next 7-8 months.

Earlier, on the 7th of July, the CBI had arrested three Railway employees namely senior Section engineer Arun Kumar Mohanta, section engineer Mohammad Amir Khan and technician Pappu Kumar. 

They were charged under IPC Section 304 – culpable homicide not amounting to murder – and Section 201 – causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender.

Initially, the CBI secured a five-day remand of the three accused. But after its completion on the 11th of July, the CBI got an additional four days of remand of the three accused. 

As per media reports, CBI has summoned a few other Railways employees to join the investigation.

The Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) also investigated this triple train accident case. Earlier this month, it found that if the past warnings had not been ignored, the tragedy could have been averted. 

The CRS said that the wires inside the level-crossing location box had been wrongly labelled. This stayed undetected for years and ultimately it lead to a mix-up during maintenance work.

The tragic accident in Odisha’s Balasore district

The accident took place, on June 2, when the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express entered the loop line at the station instead of going straight on the main line. Subsequently, it rammed into a stationary goods train at full speed. 

Its derailed coaches hit the Yesvantpur Superfast Express which was just passing the station. It was evident that the signalling was wrongly set for the train at the station. 

This triple train accident at Bahanaga Bazar station near Balasore in Odisha claimed 293 lives and injured over 1,200 passengers. 

Despite the fact that more than a month has passed, around 41 bodies are yet to be handed over to family members. Reportedly, their DNA cross-matching reports are yet to be received.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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