India seeks reasons behind train accidents


At least 20 people were killed and 92 injured when 14 coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express derailed in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh.

The train was travelling towards the Hindu holy city of Haridwar, police said.

"Around six coaches of the train derailed from the track and one of the derailed coach hit a house", the official said. The injured were taken to a local hospital, where doctors said their conditions were stable.

Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are two states which have been unfortunate to witness multiple loss of lives and property involving the railways.

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As the day dawned, at least one official accused the railways of negligence, saying cracks in the track had been seen a day before and no train should have been allowed on the damaged line.

Mohd Jamshed from the Railway Board told the media in New Delhi that lapses in maintenance work being carried out on the track could have caused the accident involving the speeding train at Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar district.

Conflicting claims from officials indicated that a human error may have been the cause of the accident.

The Indian railway ministry has ordered an inquiry into the accident. "It seems all (concerned employees) will be suspended", he says.

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"We are struggling to pull out injured, and are waiting for gas cutters to arrive", Ajay Pandey, a senior police officer at the site of the crash, said in a Sky News report. The death toll in the the northern state of Uttar Pradesh was expected to rise, officials said. A few locals were also among the dead, sources said.

Train accidents are common in India, where more than 22 million passengers use the rail system daily.

Saturday's accident is at least the fourth major accident this year and the third in Uttar Pradesh in 2017.

Modi's government has pledged to invest $137 billion over five years to modernise the crumbling railways, making them safer, faster and more efficient.

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