Kolkata: The West Bengal government is sending a six-member team to Odisha’s Balasore where several people are feared killed after several coaches of the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel express train derailed near Bahanaga railway station in the district on Friday evening.
A senior state government official said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had personally instructed Chief Secretary H.K. Dwivedi to send the team to the accident spot and help the people from West Bengal who were travelling.
“Since the train started from Shalimar station in West Bengal, it is natural that a good number of passengers travelling by the train are domiciles of West Bengal. The Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary are keeping a constant watch on the situation,” the state government official said.
Banerjee, in a tweet, announced her decision to send a representative team from West Bengal to the accident spot. She had also expressed fear that many of the victim passengers might be from West Bengal.
“Shocked to know that the Shalimar- Coromandel express, carrying passengers from West Bengal, collided with a goods train near Balasore today evening and some of our outbound people have been seriously affected/ injured. We are coordinating with Odisha government and South Eastern Railways for our people’s sake. Our emergency control room has been activated at once with numbers 033- 22143526/22535185. All out efforts for rescue, retrieval, aid and assistance initiated. We are sending a 5- 6 members team to the spot to cooperate with the Odisha government and railway authorities and to assist rescue operations. I am monitoring the situation continually personally with the Chief Secretary and other senior officers,” she said in the Twitter message.
Meanwhile, sources said that West Bengal Minister Manas Ranjan Bhunia and MP Dola Sen would be part of the team.
“The state government’s control room has already been activated. We are maintaining a constant touch with the Odisha government as well as the South Eastern Railways. We are yet to get the details of the casualties,” the Chief Secretary said.
Meanwhile, the South Eastern Railways authorities have cancelled a number of trains that were supposed to leave from different stations in West Bengal and pass through the area where the train met with the accident.