23 Killed, 100 Injured As Utkal Express Derails In UP’ Muzaffarnagar 

The incident took place in Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, around 100km from New Delhi on Saturday evening. - Sakshi Post

Muzaffarnagar: At least 24 people have died and over 100 injured after 14 coaches of the Utkal Express ran off the tracks in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening.

The incident took place in Khautali in Muzaffarnagar, around 100 kilometres from the national capital, New Delhi.The train was headed from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand.

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, responding on the incident said laxity will not be allowed in operation of trains in the county and ordered an inquiry to fix the responsibility for the accident.

Suresh Prabhu tweeted that the rescue operations have been completed and all the injured have been shifted to hospitals.

The minister said he has ordered an inquiry into the accident. "Strict action will be taken against any lapse," the minister tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the incident and offered all help to the victims and their families.

The accident took place around 5:46 pm in Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, about 100 kilometres from New Delhi. The train was headed from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, a journey of about 36 hours. Television footage showed coaches piled on top of others while one carriage crashed into a house on the side of the tracks.

Rescuers from the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF and various divisions of the police worked for hours with gas cutters and cranes to find survivors. A large number of local residents were also seen helping out in rescue work.

A team of the anti-terror squad or ATS of the police was sent to the accident site to conduct a preliminary inquiry. Authorities, however, maintain there has been nothing yet to suggest foul play in the accident.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath spoke to principal secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar and the Muzaffarnagar district magistrate and directed them to ensure prompt rescue and relief operations at Khatauli.

Local residents of Khatauli town were the first ones to reach the passengers and pulled out many survivors. A 40-year-old woman, one of the many rescued by residents, said she was travelling in an upper berth. "There was a loud noise," she said. The screams and cries for help followed. "I still can't find my aunt," the woman said.

The accident hit train services on the busy Northern Railway route. The Railways has announced a compensation of Rs3.5 lakh for the family of those killed, Rs50,000 for those seriously injured and Rs25,000 for people with minor injuries. The governments of Uttar Pradesh and Odisha also announced compensation for the victims.

Railways has also released helpline numbers for updates on the accident.

The accident comes less than a year after the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh in November last year, leaving over 100 dead.

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