In less than a week after a fire, which broke out due to suspected short-circuit in the Nanded Express, killed 26 passengers of an air-conditioned coach, a small fire broke out in the S6 coach of Visakha Express on Wednesday night.
An alert passenger noticed the sparks, which later resulted in a small fire, and promptly reported the matter to the TTE. The few passengers, who were awake at that time, spent a horrifying time fearing for their lives.
K.V. Bhagawan, a passenger from Visakhapatnam, boarded the Secunderabad – Bhubaneswar Visakha Express at Guntur around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. “I was allotted the side berth in the S 6 coach. Soon after getting on to my berth, I noticed the switch board and wires hanging out of the socket. On taking a closer look I found sparks emanating from it. I promptly informed the TTE on duty but he brushed it aside but said he would inform the concerned authorities in Vijayawada,” he said.
“I held my breath and kept watching the loose wires all the time. No one came in Vijayawada and I once again took up the matter with the new TTE, who took over in Vijayawada, and an RPF man but no action was initiated even at Gudiwada and I did some running and found the helpline number on the coach walls and called on 040-27833366.”
“The man at the helpline centre admitted that it could turn out to be a major mishap had it occurred in an AC coach. He asked me not to worry saying that he would inform the authorities concerned. At Bhimavaram an RPF official came and took snaps of the switch board and left,” Mr. Bhagawan said.“Around a dozen electricians came at Rajahmundry with cutting pliers and cut the wires, put cello tape around the loose ends and put the switch board back in the socket and tape all around it and left.
After the train left Rajahmundry, the tape came off and the board was once again hanging out. I was shocked at the shoddy work done by the electricians and the callousness of the authorities,” he said.
Bhagawan and the other passengers of the S6 coach were a relieved lot when the train finally reached Visakhapatnam around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday.
I held my breath and kept watching the loose wires all the time. No one came in Vijayawada
K. V. Bhagawan