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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/Rayagada, Jan 22:

The Odisha government this evening announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of victims from the state who lost their lives in the derailment of the Jagdalpur –Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express near Kuneru railway station in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh yesterday, official sources said.

Hirakhand

The state government also announced provision of free treatment to all injured in the accident, the sources added.

Similarly, Andhra Pradesh government has announced Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of those from the state who have died. The ex gratia amount will be paid under Chandranna Bima, the state insurance scheme.

Besides, the Union government has announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of the dead, Rs 50,000 to those grievously hurt and Rs 25,000 to those with minor injuries.

Earlier in the day, state Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Director General of Police (DGP) K B Singh and Secretary Health and Family Welfare Pramod Kumar Meherda visited the district headquarters hospital at Rayagada to take stock of the situation.

The officials spoke to the injured and enquired about their health from the attending doctors at the hospital.

The officials had also visited the accident site near Kuneru railway station.

“This is a railway accident. The Railways have a certain procedure for an inquiry in such accidents. After the cause of the accident is known from the inquiry, it is the Railways which will fix responsibilities and take appropriate action. The state government has no role in it,” clarified Chief Secretary Padhi to reporters.

“This is a very sad incident. This is a major train accident in Andhra Pradesh on its borders with Odisha. At least 39 people have lost their lives and over 100 have been injured. Bodies of the deceased have been extricated from the spot. Most have been identified but some remain to be identified. However, we want to assure that all the injured will be taken care of and they are undergoing treatment in different hospitals both in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh,” he added giving details of the rescue and relief work.

Prior to the departure of these officials for Rayagada, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had held a review meeting at the State Secretariat over the Hirakhand Express derailment.