EXCLUSIVE | Delhi Railway Division control responsible for Utkal derailment
Lucknow: Just a 15-minute block on Muzaffarnagar-Haridwar rail section literally begged by Open Line Staff from Delhi Section Control could have saved the innocent lives in Kalinga-Utkal Express accident. The last such request was made just 24 minutes before the accident which was denied outright.
It's a mystery that why section control of Delhi Railway division played stubborn not to give block to the derailed Kalinga-Utkal Express despite repeated requests from Open Line Staff. It was more than a criminal negligence on the part of section control which led to the deaths of 24 innocent passengers which could have been more if the speed of the train was above average.
According to the inside information gleaned from Railways by newstrack.com, it is clearly visible that the fault in the railway track was already detected more than five hours ago but total lack of coordination and gross negligence on the part of controlling staff led to the devastating mishap.
The control insisted upon letting Utkal express pass through the track despite the open line staff had already termed it as 'unsafe'.
The official railway communication has revealed that Sectional Permanent Way Inspector (PWI), Khatauli had detected the crack in glued joint fish plate at 12 pm in the afternoon. He informed about the snag to PWI in-charge Muzaffarnagar at 12.30 pm and sought for cutting and drilling machines.
But no action was taken into the matter till 4 o'clock in the evening and soon after seventeen minutes, first track circuit failure was recorded which lasted for nine seconds.
PWI Special KAT Kathauli demanded a 20-minute block on commutation of trains on the track, citing that the track had become unsafe. But he was denied permission to fix the problem after a discussion between Assistant Station Master (ASM) Khatauli and Section Controller.
There were two discussions between ASM Khatauli and Section Controller within a time span of less than five minutes when the Kalinga-Utkal express was standing at the Meerut City station.
The information of the same was conveyed to Senior Divisional Engineer (DEN) by PWI in-charge Muzaffarnagar at 5.10 pm, saying that a 15-minute block was necessary for smooth transition of trains. The message was also forwarded to Divisional Operating Manager (Movement).
Subsequently, PWI in-charge Muzaffarnagar talked to Engineering Control Delhi Division demanding again a block on commutation of trains at 5.15 pm. Senior DEN also talked to Divisional Operating Manager (Movement), who assured to look into the matter.
At 5.16 pm, MTS Division talked to the section controller demanding for the block but was only assured to avail the block after the passing of Kalinga-Utkal Express. Again at 5.22 pm, Assistant Engineer (AEN) Meerut talked to MTS Division demanding the same and again section controller turned down the request.
In next 24 minutes at 5.46 pm, the derailment took place and 24 people lost their lives and more than 150 got injured. According to the official sources, 22 of the injured are in critical condition which means that the death toll may increase further.
It is worth mentioning that the last train passed through the track at 4.34 pm in the evening, but our very own railway department wasted the much important "an-hour-and-twelve-minute time" pondering over giving a small block of only 15 minutes which could have saved the lives of many.
It is a serious question that what prompted Delhi Division to insist upon giving green signal to the Kalinga-Utkal Express despite repeated requests to block the commutation on the damaged railways line for just 15 minutes.