सिंधुदुर्ग Sindhudurg (SNDD): Two-days after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu spoke about improving safety in running trains, a private JCB machine quarrying between Kankavli and Sindhurg fell on the tracks, colliding with the Janshatabdi Express and injuring 16 passengers on Sunday.
Although no deaths were reported till night, three of the passengers have been reported to be grievously injured and were taken to a government hospital in Kankavli. The accident falls under the jurisdiction of the Konkan Railway (KR), and it occurred at 4.25 pm while the train had picked up speed after leaving Kankavli. KR chief public relations officer Vaishali Patange said, “From what we know, the operator of the JCB machine seemed to be reversing the vehicle, during which he lost his balance and fell on the track, hitting the Janshatabdi Express.”
Mr Prabhu had, only last month, given KR funds of Rs.250 crore for better tracks and a signaling system. The minister spoke about better technical equipment for monitoring accidents in his visit to the city on Friday. The railway minister had said, “I think that accidents can be avoided, but we are looking into private investment for better safety equipment so we are technical equipped to handle situations where an accident can occur.”
An ex-gratia payment is being arranged by KR to the injured and other trains were affected with delays due the accident. The Mandovi Express, for instance, was detained for an hour while the Diva-Sawantwadi passenger train was delayed for almost 2 hours.
A first information report was being lodged by KR against the stone quarry owner, and passengers have been asked to contact 022–27587939 to inquire about the train. Its position can also be viewed at www.konkanrailway.gov.in.