Indian Railways has suspended at least seven employees, including three arrested by the CBI, on the charge of dereliction of duty leading to the worst train tragedy in Odisha.
The accident, the worst tragedy in decades, on 2 June claimed nearly 300 lives and left over 1,000 injured.
The suspension order comes soon after South-Eastern Railway’s new general manager and divisional railway manager visited Bahanaga Bazar and Balasore railway stations on Wednesday (12 July).
Meanwhile, the three accused — senior section engineer (signal) Arun Kumar Mahanta, section engineer Mohammed Amir Khan, and technician Pappu Kumar — have been taken on another four-day remand by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
They were produced in the CBI-designated court in Balasore after completion of their five-day remand on Tuesday (11 July).
The inquiry report of the Commissioner of Railway Safety, South-Eastern circle had clearly stated that the deadly train mishap at Bahanaga station in Balasore occurred due to lapses in the signaling circuit alteration carried out at the north signal goomty (of the station) in the past.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission sought ‘Action Taken Reports’ from the chairman of Railway Board, government of India and chief secretary of Odisha, on the alleged violation of human rights of the passengers of the trains due to negligence and failure of Railway authorities.
South Eastern Railway’s general manager Anil Kumar Mishra said, “Had the officials been alert, the accident could have been avoided. According to norms, an employee arrested for 24 hours stands suspended.”
The accident — involving two passengers trains and one goods carrier —happened near Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Balasore district.
The Howrah-bound Coromandel Express crashed into a stationary goods train, derailing most of its coaches. A few coaches of Coromandel Express toppled over the last few coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express which was passing by at the same time.