Shivpuri (MP): Hours after a goods train rammed into a stationary Indore-Gwalior Intercity Express at Badarwas railway station killing at least 15 people, a preliminary probe has found evidence of serious lapse on part of the railway staff posted there.
According to reports, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) probing the incident has recovered liquor bottles from the office of the Badarwas Station Master, who is absconding after the accident.
The Station Master and other staff on Badarwas Railway Station went missing after the accident and efforts are on to trace them to obtain vital leads to determine the exact cause of the accident.
Confirming the development, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Ghanshyam Singh said, “It is true that the staff at Badarwas Station are missing from their duties following the accident and RPF personnel have been directed to search them soon."
However, the exact cause of the accident will be known only when the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), Mumbai submits his report.
The development comes hours after fifteen people were killed and 50 others injured when a goods train overshot the signal and hit the stationary Indore-Gwalior Intercity Express at Badarwas railway station in the district in the wee hours of Monday amid heavy rains and poor visibility.
The mishap took place around 4.45 am when a goods train of North-Central Railway overshot the signal and hit the stationary passenger train from the front at the station which is 50 kms from Guna town, Shivpuri Collector, Rajkumar Pathak said.
However, Pathak put the toll at 13. He said 10 of the injured are in a critical condition.
Just before the accident, the goods train driver jumped off from the locomotive and fled, Pathak said.
Both the drivers of the Inter-city train are said to be safe.
Those with serious injuries were been rushed to Guna District Hospital while others with minor wounds were treated at Badarwas, the Collector said.
Two front bogies of the Express Train were badly damaged in the accident.
Meanwhile, Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the next kin of the dead, Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 for those with serious and minor injuries respectively.
Besides announcing monetary compensation, the government has also promised jobs to the next kin of those killed in the mishap.
Minister of State for Railways KH Muniyappa has already left for the accident site along with senior railway officials.
Relief trains from neighbouring Bhopal, Guna and Bina have reached the spot, he said, adding relief and rescue operations were being carried out on a war footing.
Madhya Pradesh Governor Rameshwar Thakur and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have expressed grief over the accident and conveyed their condolences to the families.
Meanwhile, the BJP has cancelled the "Balram Samman Samaroh" scheduled for tomorrow in view of the accident.
Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Ajay Singh have also expressed grief over the accident in separate statements.
"Primarily, it appears that the mishap took place due to signal overshooting," he said.