The Odisha government on Tuesday revised the final death toll of the triple train tragedy in Balasore to 288.
Briefing reporters here, Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena said: "We have asked the Balasore collector to compile the details of bodies recovered from the tracks, those died in the hospitals... After compiling all, the collectors today informed us that the final death toll is 288."
The Odisha government and railway authorities had announced that 288 persons died in the tragedy. But, later, the state government revised the toll to 275. Now, again, on Tuesday, the Chief Secretary said 288 is the final death figure of the accident.
Death reports have been collected from the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur Cuttack, and Khurda (Bhubaneswar). Besides, combing was undertaken on 200 feet of both sides of the tracks along the accident site. After that, the final death toll was revised to 288, Jena said.
Out of 288 bodies, 193 bodies have been brought to Bhubaneswar through 96 ambulances while 94 bodies have been handed over to the next of kin after proper identification in Balasore itself, he said.
Similarly, Jena said, another person who succumbed to his injuries in Bhadrak hospital has also been handed to his family members at the hospital.
Of the 193 bodies brought to Bhubaneswar, 110 have been identified and handed over to the next of kin so far, he said.
The Chief Secretary said, a total of 205 bodies were identified and handed over till now while the remaining 83 bodies are under the process of identification.
As the bodies are in very bad shape, people are facing difficulty in identifying the bodies. So, body embalming and DNA sampling is being carried out in AIIMS Bhubaneswar so that the family members can get bodies of their loved ones, he added.
The state government is providing all kinds of support including free transportation to the victims and their relatives and the expenditure is met from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund (CMRF), Jena said.
Out of the total deaths, 39 persons have been found to be from Odisha. The Chief Minister has sanctioned Rs 1.95 crore ex-gratia to the next of kin of the deceased persons, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
The CMO said 8 people from Bhadrak district, 2 from Jajpur, 14 from Balasore, 9 from Mayurbhanj, 2 from Khurda, 3 from Cuttack and one person from Keonjhar were killed in the accident. The government has provided Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia from the CMRF to the family members of each deceased person.
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