Penukonda Tragedy: None attends Public Hearing

CRS Enquiry should have been held at Penukonda Railway Station or at the Punukonda MRO office on Guntakal Division where the mishap occurred, not of Bangalore – opines public.

Train Accident EnquiryBangalore: Not a single public witness showed up to depose before the Commissioner for Railway Safety on Thursday as the official inquiry into the Bangalore-Nanded Express accident, a granite-laden truck had rammed the train after breaking a level-crossing barrier, began.

The accident, which occurred on Monday past the Penukonda Junction in Anantapur district, claimed the lives of five people, including an MLA Venkatesh Naik from Karnataka and a railway employee.

As part of the inquiry, a public notice was issued by the CRS who asked for people with information to come and depose before him on Thursday.

“No one came. We wrapped up the hearing a little while back,” said S.K. Mittal, CRS, on Thursday evening.

However, government officials and railway employees completed their depositions on Thursday. “We finished interviewing government and railway officials. I will submit a preliminary report on the incident,” Mr. Mittal said. Statements of the government officials concerned and the railway employees related to the incident, including staff posted at the level crossing, station master and locomotive pilots, were recorded on Thursday. S K Mittal, the CRS, said that the next step would be to submit a preliminary inquiry report.

He appealed to the public who have information about the incident to depose. “If they cannot come here, they can always write to me. The preliminary report can always be modified if more information comes to light,” he said.

Safety experts and public questioned the way CRS enquiry conducted at Bangalore. ‘It should have been held at Penukonda Railway Station or at the Punukonda MRO office, instead of Bangalore, opines Public. Interestingly many tweets came up on the internet asking why Railways have not summoned the Quarry owner, the labourers or the local village people and the local administration during the enquiry.  This shows lack of professionalism in conducting enquiries, expressed netizens.

When CRS conducting enquiry Locomotive engine, compartment derail at Bengaluru Railway station

Striking coincidence of an accident again occurred when CRS conducting enquiry at City Railway Station premises yesterday, i.e. days after Nanded express derailed near Penukonda after a granite truck rammed into, killing five including truck assistant, locomotive engine and a general compartment of Prashanti express, arriving to city from Guwahati derailed in platform 3 of City railway station on Friday noon.  No casualties are reported. The accident took place when train, 20 minutes late to schedule time, arrived to platform 3 around 12.30pm.