Nellore: A major fire engulfed one of the coaches of the Chennai-bound Tamil Nadu Express in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh on Monday morning. Thirty two people were said to have died in the incident and 25 people were said to be injured.
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.
Meanwhile, relief and restoration work is underway at the site.
The incident occurred at around 4:30 am when the Nellore station manager noticed the fire in one of the bogies of the train, officials said.
The train was immediately brought to a halt and the fire brigade was pressed into service and the blaze was extinguished, they said.
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined, however, it was suspected to be caused by a short circuit in the coach, they added.
CPRO of the South Central Railway Sambasiva Rao said that a special train would be leaving from Chennai to Nellore at 9.30 am. "It is too early to comment on the cause of fire. Rescue operations are on. Only one coach was affected in the fire. Nearly 25 people were injured. They have all been admitted to a nearby hospital. A special train will leave from Chennai to Nellore at 9.30 am for rescue operations," he said.
The S-11 coach had around 72 passengers, said sources.
Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has directed the district administration to provide immediate medical relief to the injured.
Meanwhile, gas cutters are being used to cut through the coach and recover more bodies.
A help desk has been opened at the Chennai Central Station to give information on the fire. The phone numbers are 044-25357398 and 044-25330821.
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: email@example.com.
Meanwhile, the Indian Railway has announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia relief to the relatives of the dead. 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 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
5) Sampath Kumar
Report on Railway safety, security soon: Mukul Roy
Announcing ex-gratia relief and jobs to the relatives and dependents of the dead, Railway Minister Mukul Roy on Monday said that an inquiry had been ordered into the Tamil Nadu Express fire incident and that a comprehensive note was being prepared on the safety and security of trains, which would be submitted to the PM in the first week of August.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier directed the Railway Minister to coordinate with the Andhra Pradesh government in providing relief to the victims of the fire.
Addressing the media in Kolkata, Roy said that he would take the first available flight for Nellore and be there by 6 pm. He added, "Time has come to take technological support to avoid accidents caused by human error. I have appraised PM and the Planning Commission."
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy is expected to visit the site by 3 pm, while Congress MLA and actor Chiranjee arrived at the site at around 2 pm.
(With additional information from PTI)
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