Thursday, January 7, 2016

Bengaluru: Come February, it will be a year since the Bengaluru-Ernakulam intercity train derailed near Bidaragere in Anekal, 70km from here, killing nine passengers and injuring more than 20. However, a statutory inquiry report identifying the guilty is gathering dust without any follow-up action.

On the day of the accident, railway officials had claimed that a boulder on the track was the root cause of the derailment. Trusting his officials, railway minister Suresh Prabhu had tweeted, saying the locomotive engine had rammed a boulder. Initial investigation by local cops, in association with railway police, disproved the boulder theory. Later, it was proven that a crack in the track resulted in the accident.

Later, a statutory inquiry headed by SK Mittal, commissioner for railway safety, was carried out. The commissioner questioned more than 40 persons, including locomotive pilots, station masters and staff handling inner and outer signals at stations. Mittal submitted the report in December last year but the railway ministry seems to be in no hurry to punish the guilty.

Confirming submission of the report, Mittal said it is with the departments concerned. "It is a confidential report and the departments will decide the future course of action," he said.

According to sources, engineers from Anekal and City railway stations are to be blamed for the horrific accident. "Just a day before the tragedy, the track was repaired. During such times, trains shouldn't travel at speeds more than 20 kmph. It is the duty of the stationmaster and other engineers to direct locomotive pilots not to move fast on that particular track. But Ernakulam Express was moving at a speed of 70 kmph and the locomotive pilot said no one intimated him about the track condition," the sources said.


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