The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Railway waits for report remedy

Calcutta, Sept. 16: The Rajdhani Express grand chord running through Rafiganj has a two-hour window period every day for gangmen to inspect the high-speed tracks.

Senior Eastern Railway officials said the report to be submitted by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Mahesh Chand, will fix responsibility for the September 9 crash. They said it is virtually impossible to ensure that every gangman does his job along the thousands of kilometres of rail tracks in India.

“We will take special steps if the report suggests certain remedial measures,” said C.P. Thakur, deputy general manager of Eastern Railway.

The railway today issued a statement on measures taken after the accident. The Dhawa bridge, off which the bogies fell, had been inspected and declared sound on March 9, exactly six months earlier than the accident day, the statement said.

The statement also mentioned the presence of mind of Ranjit Mitra, chief electrical distribution engineer, Eastern Railway, who was on board the train. Mitra, who was badly injured and travelling in the First AC coach, was asked to “protect” the Down line. Mitra then went to Rafiganj station and contacted the Mughal Sarai control. Despite five fractures in his ribcage, Mitra oversaw rescue operations till September 13.

The railway has paid nearly Rs 32 lakh as ex gratia to the kin of the dead and injured. A lakh, which is not a portion of the final compensation of Rs 4 lakh for the dead, has been given to the kin of 24 victims.

The Up line is expected to be open to traffic on September 23, Thakur said.

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