An audio clip of a purported conversation between a railway employee and a mediaperson, in which the former claimed yesterday’s tragedy in Khatauli was due to “negligence”, would be looked into by a team probing the derailment, a top railway ministry official said on Sunday.
Member Traffic, Railways, Md Jamshed said the inquiry team probing the derailment, in which 22 passengers were killed, would look into the 15-minute audio clip. The clip has since gone viral.
In the clip, the railway staff apparently posted at a crossing near the accident site in Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, claimed that “poor patrolling” on the track where maintenance work was underway was one of the reasons behind the tragedy.
“Welding work was underway 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,” he is heard saying.
“Neither the line, on which the work was under way, was fixed nor had they put any flag or a signboard (as a stop signal). The accident occurred due to negligence. It seems all (employees concerned) will be suspended.”
He also talks about how 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,” the staffer, presumably a gateman, is heard saying.
Commissioner of Railway Safety Shailesh Kumar Pathak is going to begin his probe tomorrow and the clip’s veracity will be probed, officials said.
“We have got the clip from the media and heard it. In the clip, it sounds like a conversation between a railway worker and a mediaperson. In it, the worker is saying that the work was going on the track and it was being done negligently.
We are verifying its authenticity.
“In fact, during the commissioner’s inquiry, the common people will be asked to provide any information that they have on the accident,” Mr Jamshed said in the national capital earlier in the day.