The Railway Ministry has announced an ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakh for each of the families of the deceased and Rs.1 lakh to the seriously injured in the fire that broke out in a coach of the Chennai-bound Tamil Nadu Express near Nellore early on Monday.
Railway Minister Mukul Roy, who expressed deep grief over the loss of innocent lives, has also announced a compensation of Rs.25,000 to those having simple injuries.
"Honourable Railway Minister, who was monitoring the situation has expressed deep grief over the loss of innocent lives in this unfortunate and tragic incident. He has also announced an increase amount of ex-gratia payment. It is Rs.5 lakh in case of death, it is Rs.1 lakh in case of grievous injury and Rs.25,000 in case of simple injury," said Indian Railways Public Relations Officer (PRO) Anil Saxena.
"He has also instructed the railway administration to provide the best possible medical care to the injured and he has also instructed that the railway will bear the entire expenses incurred on the treatment of the patients, who were injured in this unfortunate incident," he added.
Saxena informed that at least 15 people were killed and 25 persons have been injured in the untoward incident that took place at around 4: 22 a.m. today in Vijaywada division of South Central Railway near Nellore Station in Andhra Pradesh.
He, however, said the death toll is likely to rise, as the affected coach is till being searched for bodies. "As of now, there is a confirmation of 15 deaths and 25 persons have been injured. But the death toll is likely to rise, as the affected coach is till being searched for bodies," he said.
Saxena said the traffic on the affected route is now normal and has been restored, and added that both up and down lines are functional.
He further informed that Commissioner, Railway Safety, D.K. Singh, who represents south central circle of Railway Safety Department, would conduct the statutory inquiry into the incident.
"The prima facie cause of the fire is not yet known. It is still being investigated and we will have to wait for the detailed inquiry report from the Commissioner Railway Safety, who is part of the Ministry of Civil Aviation to know about the cause of the accident," he added.
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined. However, it was reportedly caused by a short circuit in the coach.
The injured have been admitted to Nellore Civic Hospital for treatment. A relief and rescue train has already been rushed to the spot.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy expressed shock and anguish at the fire accident. Reddy is expected to leave for Nellore to take stock of the situation.
The helpline numbers are: Secunderabad: 040-27786723, 27700868; Vijayawada: 0866-2345863, 2345864 and Nellore: 0861-2331477, 2576924; New Delhi: 011-23342954, 23341072, 23341074; Hazrat Nizamuddin: 011-24359748. (ANI)