PC clarifies remark against Rly Ministry

His charge came at a meeting of the National Disaster Management Agency on  Wednesday morning. The minister’s remark drew an aggressive response from the Railway Ministry forcing the Home Ministry to come out with a clarification later in the day.

The Home Ministry clarified that the minister did not criticise the Railway Ministry but was only referring to the time taken in dispatching National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams.
 Railway officials were quick to refute the charges of negligence. They circulated a “time line” which says that the first medical relief train started within 45 minutes of the accident at 0248 hours from the Rampur Hat, the nearest point, and it reached Sainthia within 90 minutes.

Medical aid
A series of medical relief trains from different stations continued to reach the site till 7 am, the ministry claimed. It did not refer to the home minister’s statement about the time at which the NDRF left for the site. However, it alleged that the NDRF sent by the Home Ministry reached the site only after seven hours.

The Railway officials also shot down the suggestion of the home minister that helicopter or small craft could have been  used to send relief teams. A senior railway official remarked: “It is not practical. These operations required a large number of people and big equipment.”

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