Utkal express derailment
Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh's MuzaffarnagarTwitter

The Kalinga Utkal Express tragedy that killed 21 and injured 150 people has raised the usual questions on passenger safety again. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, on Sunday, directed Chairman of Railway Board, A K Mittal, to fix the responsibility for the tragedy by the end of the day.

As the investigations are underway, conflicting claims have surfaced from the Engineering division of Railways and the Railway authorities at Khatauli junction.

Thirteen coaches of the express train derailed near Khatauli, Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, August 19, around 5.45 pm. Two coaches crashed into residential areas.

While officials still remain tight-lipped on the exact cause of the accident, a recent safety report from the Ministry of Railway states derailment tragedies could be traced back to the failure of Railway staff.

Blame game

Recently the locals and some passengers have alleged that the tracks were under maintenance when the derailment took place.

One of the residents, whose house was damaged after a coach crashed in, said the track had been under repair for the past two days and the locals suspect Utkal express pilot wasn't aware of the same.

Engineering division of Railways had reportedly warned the Khatauli railway station authorities about the ongoing repair work on the tracks.

They had also said no trains should be allowed on the stretch for a duration of 20 minutes till the tracks were restored.

They further noted two other trains slowing down and had implied that the station authorities might have asked them to do so.

Station superintendent of Khatauli told NDTV that they had no knowledge of technical problems.

Utkal express derailed
Utkal Express derails near Khatauli railway stationTwitter

Changing to LHB coaches

A report from last December by the Standing Committee on Railways on safety and security stated that under- investment is one of the reasons for the rising number of rail accidents.

Over-worked tracks and lack of maintenance are cited as other reasons. Some of the fatal accidents that have happened in the past include the derailment of Indore-Patna Express.

The report further mentioned that Linke-Hoffman Busch (LHB) coaches do not face many casualties during derailments as they do not pile up on one another and even recommended that Indian railways completely switch to LHB coaches.