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Least bothered about passenger safety: Lalu takes on Centre over Odisha train accident

He said the government must also consider increasing the ex-gratia announced for injured
Last Updated : 03 June 2023, 16:20 IST

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Alleging that the BJP-led government at the Centre has "destroyed" the railways, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Saturday claimed that sheer negligence has caused the train tragedy in Odisha's Balasore district that killed 288 people.

Prasad, who is a former railway minister, said the government must also consider increasing the ex-gratia announced for the injured.

"I extend my heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. A high-level inquiry must be ordered to find out the reason behind the accident, and also fix the responsibilities," he told reporters.

"The government at the Center has completely destroyed Indian Railways. They are least bothered about the safety of the passengers. It's sheer negligence on the part of the railway authorities," he added.

Three trains -- Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and a goods train -- were involved in the accident, one of the worst railway tragedies in the country.

"At least Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia should be given to those severely injured," said Prasad.

The railway ministry has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh for the deceased, Rs 2 lakh for those severely injured, and Rs 50,000 for those who sustained minor injuries. Additionally, PM Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF).

Meanwhile, RJD's partner JD(U) demanded the resignation of Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

"The railway minister must resign after this incident. Our leader Nitish Kumar had resigned as railway minister taking moral responsibility for the Gaisal train disaster in Assam in August 1999 that had killed 290 people," JD(U) spokesperson Abhishek Jha said.

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Published 03 June 2023, 16:20 IST

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