West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday cancelled her four-day trip to Darjeeling at the last minute to supervise the treatment and rehabilitation of passengers of the state who were injured in the triple train accident in Odisha’s Balasore, sources said. The Trinamool Congress chief was supposed to visit Darjeeling where she was scheduled to meet members of all political parties in the Hills before the panchayat elections slated this year, secretariat sources said. “She wants to be in Kolkata and oversee how the rehabilitation and treatment of injured passengers from West Bengal who were on board the Coromandel Express that met with an accident near Bahanaga Bazar in Balasore district. She will visit the Hills later,” the source told PTI. The Odisha government on Sunday revised the triple train accident’s death toll to 275 from 288, and put the number of injuries at 1,175.
Banerjee had on the same day questioned the death figures given by the Railway Ministry, stating that 61 people from her state were dead and 182 were still missing.
”If 182 are missing and 61 confirmed dead from one state, then where would the figures stand?” she asked, addressing a press conference at the state secretariat, Nabanna.
Hours after the damaged tracks were restored in Balasore on Sunday evening, a coal-laden goods train from Vizag port to Rourkela Steel Plant ran through it around 10.40 pm, officials said. The first high speed passenger train – Howrah-Puri Vande Bharat Express – passed through Balasore on Monday morning on restored tracks, officials said.
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Vande Bharat Express crossed the Bahanaga Bazar Station around 9.30 am on Monday, they said.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was present at the accident site and waved to the drivers when the semi-high speed train passed through, the officials said.
Three trains— Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah super fast and a goods train — were involved in the pile-up on June 2. The Coromandel Express rammed into a stationary goods train and many of its carriages overturned including some onto another train – the Bengaluru-Howrah superfast express which was also passing by at the same time.