Bhubaneswar: The Balasore train accident is a disaster of unimaginable scale. It has shocked the entire world into deep mourning. From common man to celebrities to national leaders to global leaders, human race as a whole came to grieve over the unprecedented disaster that claimed 275 lives and injured over a thousand people. The railway tragedy involving three trains is one of the worst railway disasters in the country in the last 28 years, and is the biggest railway disaster in Odisha. In fact, this is the biggest disaster that the State has faced since the 1999 super cyclone.
In the face of this horrific train accident, Odisha under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik stood strong to mitigate the crisis. The Chief Minister’s already proven disaster management strategy has immensely helped to bring the situation under normalcy. The relief and rescue operations were very meticulously handled by the State administration under the direct supervision of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The devastating accident involving two Express trains – Coromandel and SMVP-Howrah Superfast Express, and a goods train on Friday evening has plunged the whole nation into mourning. In the wake of catastrophe of unthinkable magnitude, the State Government led by CM Naveen Patnaik swiftly harnessed all possible resources to handle the situation while ensuring proper care of the victims.
As soon as the accident took place, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik left no time to swing into action with a motto to save precious lives. He ordered the Revenue Minister and Special Relief Commissioner to rush to the accident spot immediately. Along with them, the Chief Minister also deputed other senior officers to the site to supervise and support the rescue and relief operations. The CM went straight to the control room of the SRC to take stock the situation in the late evening. He took real-time updates from the senior officers. In the very next morning, the Chief Minister visited the accident site, accompanied by 5T Secretary VK Pandian and other senior officers, to review the relief and rescue operations at the ground level. The Chief Minister also visited the hospital to meet the people, who are undergoing treatment for their injuries in the train accident. He interacted with the victims and injured personnel and asked the doctors to provide best treatment to the injured. The Chief Minister also ordered for State mourning for a day on Saturday. Naveen lauded the efforts of local residents and others who worked overnight to save people from the wreckage. The Chief Minister also spoke to the Chief Ministers of other States and assured them that all possible care has been taken for the treatment of the injured. Family members of the injured or dead persons are being provided with all help. The Chief Minister announced free bus service to Kolkata from Puri Bhubaneswar and Cuttack till restoration of normal train service in Balasore route.
The CM also announced ex-gratia assistance for the victims of Odisha of the train tragedy. The next of the kin of the deceased will get an assistance of Rs.5 lakh and those who sustained serious injuries will get Rs. 1 lakh as assistance.
On the instructions of Chief Minister, the state administration went into action mode instantly when the news of the accident flashed. All the hospitals in Balasore, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Bhadrak were alerted to receive patients. More than 200 ambulances and over 100 medical teams with paramedical staff were pressed into service. Helpline numbers were issued to assist the victims and their family members. Nine teams of NDRF, five teams of ODRAF and 24 fire service units, local police and volunteers were deployed for searching survivors and bodies trapped in the heaps of mangled coaches throughout the night. A Control Room was set up at BMC-ICOMC tower, Satya Nagar Bhubaneswar to assist the passengers and their family members stranded in the tragic accident.
On the direction of the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena and 5T Secretary VK Pandian closely monitored the entire operations. The 5T Secretary visited SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack and met the injured undergoing treatment there. He enquired about their condition and assured all support from the Odisha Government in providing the best treatment.
The State Government has taken care of more than 1200 injured persons. They were admitted in various government and private hospitals. The State Government has also taken steps to bring unidentified bodies of victims of the tragic train mishap in Balasore to Bhubaneswar for better preservation and to facilitate smooth identification by the family members of the deceased.
Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena and other senior officers such as Development Commissioner Anu Garg, Additional Chief Secretary of Home Department Deoranjan Kumar Singh, I&PR Department Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar Singh, E&IT Department Principal Secretary Manoj Kumar Mishra, and Commerce and Transport Department Principal Secretary Usha Padhee have closely monitored the situation from the SRC control room and made necessary interventions for smooth handling of the situation.
The Odisha Government’s effective disaster management strategy has once again grabbed attention of the nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also visited the accident site in Balasore to take stock of the situation, has showered his praises on the State Government for successfully handling the disaster.