Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin's party DMK today requested the Centre for a transparent investigation into the horrific three-train collision in Odisha which killed at least 288 people and injured hundreds more. The party said that the government should focus on safety before moving to launch new trains, such as 'Vande Bharat'. This comes even as the country's rail network is undergoing a transformation with new trains and modern stations.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not paid attention to rail safety while he flagged off Vande Bharat trains himself in each state," said DMK MP and former Union Minister A Raja.
"Vande Bharat Express" - a semi-high-speed train built in India - is showcased as evidence of this modernisation, with PM Modi himself flagging off the first journeys of many of the trains around the country.
He, while referring to resignations by former Railways Ministers following train accidents, asked for fixing responsibility. "Technology has improved a lot. How can this happen? What went wrong? Was it a system or human error? Fix responsibility," said A Raja.
The DMK leader, however, also insisted that it was now doubting the integrity of the Prime Minister or the Railways Minister
The state BJP has denied DMK's allegations on rail safety. The state vice president Narayan Tirupati said, "Rail safety was taken seriously only over the last nine years".Advertisement
Citing allegations by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that the BJP government had not installed rail safety technologies she had earlier initiated as Railway Minister, Mr Raja added "Only less than 2 per cent of the 75,000 km long rail network have rail safety systems".
The Odisha crash involved the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, and a goods train. The accident saw one train ram so hard into another that carriages were lifted high into the air, twisting and then smashing off the tracks.Advertisement
Prime Minister Modi today visited the accident site and met those injured in the accident. "Severest action would be taken against anyone found responsible," he said.Advertisement