Home & Railway ministries on different tracks

Home & Railway ministries on different tracks

Cranes move the derailed train coaches at the site of a train crash near Sardiha, West Bengal  on Friday. AP

“It appears to be a case of sabotage where a portion of the railway track was removed. Whether explosives were used is not yet clear,” said Union Home Minister P Chidambaram soon after the accident. The home ministry will hold an enquiry into the accident.

Though the Congress and the CPM are not ready to buy the blast theory of Jhargram Rail accident, the railway ministry is trying hard to push this theory forward. Detailing out the sequence and outcome of the accident, a statement issued by the railway ministry on Friday said that the driver heard a loud sound followed by the derailment of the train. Railway ministry officials are claiming that gelatin sticks and the TNT explosives have been recovered from the site of the accident.

The railway ministry has defended the safety arrangements in Maoist infested areas and alleged that state government has violated safety procedures laid down for Maoist areas. The railways are claiming it to be in place and said safety check for passenger trains was also done in this case too. The blast theory of railway minister Mamata Banerjee apparently suggests  failure of law and order in the state. The home ministry also comes in the picture as the anti-Naxalite operations are being jointly looked after by the state government and the home ministry.

To isolate Trinmool on the issue, the CPM demanded an intervention by the Prime Minister in ensuring safety on tracks. Meanwhile, the railway ministry is seriously considering to stop night operations in five Naxalite affected states of Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The ministry is considering other safety measures to meet the threats to railways during the Black Week being observed by the Maoists.

Home minister said National Disaster Response Force has deployed 4 teams to assist in the rescue and relief operations. A total of 132 personnel with necessary equipment have reached the site of the tragedy and are assisting the State Government and Railway authorities, he said.

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