The section where two trains derailed due to the sudden flow of water on the tracks has no history of being vulnerable to accidents in rainy season and hence the Railway officials had not anticipated such a tragedy at that spot in Madhya Pradesh.
“Regular monsoon patrolling was not being done between Khirki and Bhirangi section as the officials did not find it vulnerable to accidents in rainy season going by the past history,” a top Railway officer said.
“We do regular monsoon patrolling only in the areas which are prone to accidents due to rains. This was not the case with this section,” he said, preferring anonymity.
He was asked when was the last time the ill-fated spot of the section, some 25km from the district headquarters, was inspected.
However, he hurriedly added that Assistant Engineer A K Pandey of Harda, had inspected the spot, some 150km from Bhopal, about 20 minutes before the derailments took place.
“There is no water body or dam in the upstream of the spot as per our records. I think a flash flood washed away the earth and other materials underneath of the tracks, resulting in the accidents,” he added.
The flash flood may have been caused due to a breach in some water body (dam) about which we (Railway) have not been told by district authorities, he contended.
However, Bhopal Division PRO I A Siddique denied that regular monsoon patrolling was not carried out on the ill- fated section. “We do patrolling in each and every section without taking vulnerability into account,” he added.
WCR General Manager Ramesh Chandra and Bhopal DRM Alok Kumar couldn’t be contacted despite several attempts.
The derailment of Mumbai-Varanasi Kamayani Express and Patna-Mumbai Janata Express, heading in opposite directions, killed 25 people and injured several others passengers.
The twin mishap took place between Khirki and Bhirangi section of Bhopal division, West Central Railway (WCR) last night.
“I heard a deafening sound…akin to a dam burst,” said a passenger, Chottu Singh, who was injured in the mishap and is currently admitted at the district hospital. The 62- year-old was going to Nashik and travelling by Janata Express.
Railways has said the sudden flow of water on the tracks caused the derailment of the trains while they were crossing the swollen Machak river near Harda.
“According to reports, there was a possible burst in a nearby dam which caused sudden flow of water on the tracks and that resulted in the derailment,” Railway Board Chairman AK Mittal said in Delhi.