Fire Probe derails S.W.Railway’s New Year Bash

Anantapur (ATP):  Officials of the Bangalore Division of the Railways had to cancel their customary New Year bash slated for Tuesday in the city after the Commissioner of Rail Safety (CRS) summoned them to Puttaparthi. The officials were summoned as part of the inquiry by CRS S K Mittal into the deadly fire on the Bangalore-Nanded Express on December 28.

The New Year celebration, held at the Nandi Club on Seshadri Road, used to be attended by more than 80 railway officials and their families.

According to official sources, the Divisional Railway Manager, department heads and their immediate subordinates and some officials from the South Central Railways have been summoned to the Sathya Sai Prashanti Nilayam railway station at Puttaparthi where the burnt coach is stationed. The travelling ticket examiner (TTE), who was in the B1 AC coach when it caught fire, has also been summoned.

On the first day of the inquiry, the TTE and some other officials testified before the CRS, who also visited the burnt bogie. Meanwhile, sources added that the inquiry process would be shifted from Puttaparthi to the Bangalore DRM’s office for the convenience of officials.

The Railway Minister’s Bangalore office said the Railway Board Chairman visited the accident site and the burnt bogie along with a team from the Civil Aviation Ministry as part of investigations. The Minister had asked the Railway Board Chairman to prepare a report on upgrading safety standards in the Railways.

The Chairman is likely to consider all safety recommendations, including installation of fireproof wires and sprinklers to douse accidental fires in the trains, before preparing his report.

The Minister is likely to discus the report submitted by the Railway Board along with reports that would be submitted by the two other teams that are inquiring into the accident and take a decision on enhancing safety standards.

Officials camping in Anantapur

After the outrage over the recent fire mishap in Bangalore-Nanded Express, Commissioner for Railway Safety S. K. Mittal is leaving no stone unturned to ensure an early report on the accident.

Mittal along with other senior officials will be camping at the site of accident for two days.

He has summoned all the railway officials related with the incident and the investigating officers to Anantapur district to ascertain the facts and come to a conclusion.

A railway official revealed, “The officials were called on Tuesday morning and they will be staying till Wednesday to investigate the matter. As per the directions of the commissioner, the enquiry will be carried out.” Railway Minister Mallikaarjun Kharge had instituted an inquiry into the Bangalore-Nanded Express accident that had left Bangalore at 10.45 pm on Friday.

The burnt coach had about 64 passengers, mostly from Karnataka, on board.

The fire broke out when the train was near the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram. Earlier Kharge had indicated that the blaze was caused by an electrical fault.

Soon after the accident, forensic experts from Andhra Pradesh have rushed to the spot to examine and collect evidence from the ill-fated AC coach of the Ban­galore-Nanded Express.