West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday questioned the death figures given by the Ministry of Railways in the triple train crash in Odisha's Balasore, stating that 61 people from her state were dead and 182 were still missing.
Banerjee asked questions on whether Vande Bharat engines were up to the mark.
"If from one state, 182 are missing and 61 are confirmed dead, then where would the figures stand?" she asked, addressing a press conference at the state secretariat, Nabanna.
At least 275 people were killed and 1,175 injured in the triple train accident in Balasore, according to officials.
Three trains— Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah super fast and a goods train — were involved in Friday's accident, now being described as one of India’s worst train accidents.
Stating that Duronto Express trains introduced during her tenure as the railway minister were "pushed out of priority", Banerjee asked whether the Vande Bharat Express trains' engines were up to the mark.
Asserting that the BJP forced her to speak out despite this being a very sad situation, she said, "It was being stated by some sections that so many people died during my tenure and that of Nitish Kumar or Lalu Prasad Yadav." Banerjee said the new signal system and anti-collision device were introduced during her tenure as the railway minister.
"The name Vande Bharat is good, but you have seen what happened that day when a tree branch fell on it," she said, about a mishap the Puri-Howrah Vande Bharat suffered on the second day after its inauguration.
The Coromandel Express crashed into a stationary goods train, derailing most of its coaches at 7 pm on June 2.
A few coaches of Coromandel toppled over the last few coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Express which was passing by at the same time.
Investigators are looking into possible human error, signal failure and other possible causes behind the three-train crash.
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