The Railway Minister, Mr Mukul Roy, today ordered an inquiry into the Tamil Nadu Express fire mishap and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs five lakh each for the next of the kin of those killed in the mishap that left 32 people dead.

He also announced a payment of Rs one lakh each for those who were grievously injured and Rs 25,000 for those who suffered simple injuries.

The inquiry by Mr D.K. Singh, Commissioner of Railway Safety of South-Central Circle, will look into the cause of the mishap near Nellore in Andhra Pradesh.

The Railway Ministry spokesperson, Mr Anil Saxena, said relief has been despatched through the accident relief medical train from Bitragunda station.

Fire brigade from Nellore reached the site and extinguished the fire, he said, adding that the Railway Board Chairman, Mr Vinay Mittal, along with senior officials have rushed to the accident site.

A special train has been arranged for carrying the relatives of affected passengers from Chennai to Nellore.

Mr Saxena said the Railways has instructed the general managers of all zones to exercise extra vigil and launch a special safety drive regarding precautions to be taken to avoid the recurrence of such accidents.

Mr Mukul Roy said he has asked the Railway Board to set up a high-power committee which would investigate the cause of the fire.

Asked whether the blaze was caused by a short-circuit, Mr Roy said: “Nothing is being ruled out and nothing can be said without an investigation. It will be investigated whether it was caused by a short-circuit or a passenger was carrying inflammable substances.”

The Minister said that he would be leaving for the site.

(This article was published on July 30, 2012)
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