The rescue operation in the horrific train accident in Odisha's Balasore has been completed and the restoration work has been started, railways spokesperson Amitabh Sharma informed on Saturday.
Speaking to ANI, the Executive Director, Information Publication Railway Board Amitabh Sharma said, "The rescue operation has been completed, now we are starting the restoration work. 238 people have died and more than 600 are injured. Kawach was not available on this route".
He said that so far more than 100 people have claimed ex-gratia payments. He also said that several trains have been cancelled and diverted in wake of the incident.
"As of now, more than 100 people have claimed ex-gratia payments. Counters for the same have been set up at three places-Balasore, Soro and Bahanaga Bazar," he said.
Amitabh Sharma added, "As of now 48 trains cancelled, 39 diverted and 10 short-terminated."
Odisha Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak told ANI that the priority of the officials is to provide proper treatment to the patients.
"Our priority is treatment. Doctors are ready. CM has directed us to keep everything ready in hospitals," he said.
Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on adjacent tracks. The 12841 Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express coming from the opposite direction on the parallel track rammed into the derailed coaches.
Some 12 Coromandel Express coaches derailed and hit the stationary goods train on the third track.
According to the officials, the accident took place around 7 pm on Friday.
Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reached the spot and supervised the rescue operation.
"A detailed high-level inquiry will be conducted and the rail safety commissioner will also do an independent inquiry," Vaishnaw said on Saturday.
He added, "Our focus is on rescue and relief operations. Restoration will begin after clearance from the district administration". (ANI)