A tragic accident in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district has left at least 14 people dead and 54 others injured as two passenger trains collided on Sunday evening. The incident unfolded around 7:10 p.m. when the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger special (08504) collided with the Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger (08532). Preliminary investigations indicate that human error may have been a significant factor, with the Rayagada-bound train likely running a red signal.
As the grim task of identifying the victims continues, Vizianagaram district collector S Nagalakshmi revealed that of the 14 passengers who lost their lives, 11 have been identified. The deceased include both the loco pilot and assistant loco pilot of the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train, as well as several other passengers. Their names and hometowns are a stark reminder of the human cost of this tragedy.
Immediate Response and Relief Efforts
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has promptly taken action, announcing an ex gratia of ₹10 lakh for the families of those killed and ₹2 lakh for those injured. While he plans to visit the accident site and meet with the injured at the government hospital, Railways Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw and Chairman of the Railway Board Jaya Varma Sinha have been closely monitoring the situation from Delhi.
Echoes of Past Tragedies
The collision is a haunting reminder of past railway disasters, with a similar accident occurring just months ago in Odisha’s Bahanaga Bazar. In June, faulty connections in the automated signalling system led to India’s worst rail disaster in two decades, claiming 288 lives and injuring over 1,000 people. Such incidents call into question the safety of the country’s vast railway network.
Tragic Human Error
The prevailing theory behind this heartbreaking collision points to human error. It’s believed that the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train overshot a red signal, resulting in a devastating collision with the Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger train. This event highlights the importance of strict adherence to safety procedures within India’s railways.
Victims of the Tragedy
The identification process of the 14 victims is an ongoing effort, and 11 have been named so far. These individuals hailed from various regions within the Vizianagaram district, emphasizing the local impact of this accident. The tragic loss of the loco pilot and assistant loco pilot of the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train is a poignant reminder of the risks railway personnel face in their line of duty.
Swift Government Response
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s swift response to the incident is commendable. His announcement of compensation to the affected families and the injured passengers demonstrates his commitment to providing support during this difficult time. The Chief Minister’s visit to the accident site and the hospital further highlights his dedication to overseeing relief efforts.
Safety Concerns and Past Incidents
This accident is a stark reminder of previous railway tragedies, including the disaster in Odisha. Concerns about safety and the need for robust measures to prevent such incidents in the future are now at the forefront of public discourse.
As investigations continue into this tragic train collision in Andhra Pradesh, the nation grapples with the human cost of a railway system that connects millions but occasionally exacts a devastating toll. While compensation and relief efforts provide some solace to the victims and their families, many are left demanding that the authorities take more substantial measures to ensure the safety of India’s railways. With the memories of past accidents still fresh, the call for improvements in railway safety grows louder.