2 Derailments in 4 Days: Railway Board Chairman Ashok Mittal resigns

NEW DELHI: Ashok Mittal, Chairman of the Railway Board, today submitted his resignation to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, sources told. Mittal’s resignation comes in the wake of a number of a high-profile accidents and derailments on the Indian Railways.

Mittal was facing flak after the Utkal Express derailment in Muzaffarnagar. On Saturday, 23 passengers died and over 60 sustained injuries when 14 coaches of the Utkal Express, which runs on the Puri-Haridwar-Kalinga route, derailed at Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar.

Prabhu had directed the Railway Board Chairman to fix responsibility after the Muzaffarnagar incident. He also said that he would not allow laxity in operations by the Railway Board.

“Will not allow laxity in operations by the (Railways) Board. I have directed CRB to fix responsibility on prima facie evidence by end of day,” Prabhu said in a tweet.

Member Engineering Railway Board Ashok Mittal was on Sunday sent on leave after the prima facie evidence showed negligence on the part of maintenance staff as the reason why the Utkal Express derailed.

Divisional Railway Manager Delhi and General Manager Northern Railways, who had himself suspended four railway officials, have also been sent on leave. The Chief Track Engineer, Northern Railway zone, has also been transferred, hours after Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu asked officials to make those responsible for the tragedy accountable by the end of this day.

R K Verma, Senior Divisional engineer, Delhi division, Rohit Kumar, Assistant engineer, Meerut, Delhi division, Inder Jeet Singh, Senior section engineer, Muzzafarnagar, and Pradeep Kumar, Junior engineer, Khatauli, were the four officials, suspended by the General Manager Northern Railways.