An unverified telephonic conversation apparently between two railway employees widely circulated on social media on Sunday hints that “negligence” may have caused the Saturday train accident in Uttar Pradesh.
The nearly 15-minute audio clip could not be verified independently. A railway official said they were looking into it.
One of the men in the audio clip apparently posted at a crossing near the accident site says “poor patrolling” on the track where maintenance work was under way was one of the causes that caused the tragedy.
“Welding work was under way at a section of the railway track… but the workers did not fix the block of the track and left it loose. Gates near the crossing were closed. A piece (of the track) was not fixed and when the Utkal Express arrived, 14 of its coaches got derailed,” one of the railway employees is heard saying.
“Neither the line, on which the work was under way, was fixed nor they had put any flag or a signboard (as a stop signal). The accident occurred due to negligence. It seems all (concerned employees) will be suspended,” he says.
The other replies that heads will roll and all including “Junior Engineer and other officials” were likely to face action.
They also tell each other that the workers had left some equipment between the tracks after finishing their work. “At least they could have removed the machine and put a red flag there, perhaps the tragedy could have been averted.”
Railway authorities here said they had not yet got the audio clip.
“We have come to know through the media about the conversation between two railway employees. It says the train derailment occurred due to negligence. We will check the authenticity of the clip,” Railway Board official Mohd Jamshed told reporters here.
The Kalinga Utkal Express was on its way from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand on Saturday when 14 coaches derailed at Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. The railways say 20 people have died, down from the 24 reported dead by officials in the state.