A 10-member CBI team on Tuesday visited the accident spot in Bahanaga near Balasore, Odisha, and spoke to the Station Manager and other railway staff. Meanwhile, the death toll has mounted to 288, with three injured persons succumbing to injuries. Meanwhile, politics is going on in full swing over the three-train pileup. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav cited the three-train crash in Odisha to target the BJP government in UP. He said, ‘On one hand people are being shown dreams of a triple-engine government, and here we see that three engines have collided’. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee questioned the death toll figure and alleged that the Railway is concealing the exact toll. Indian Railway has opened a free toll line for relatives to trace their missing ones. Authorities in AIIMS, Bhubaneswar are taking DNA tests of people in order to identify the claimants of bodies. Mamata Banerjee said, the CBI probe will not bring out the true cause of the accident. “As railway minister, I had given the Jnaneshwari Express accident probe to CBI, but nothing came out after 12 years. I gave the Sainthia accident probe to CBI, but there was no result. CBI can probe criminal cases, but this is an accident case. We have Railway Safety Commission, which can probe accidents faster. We want the truth to come out before people. This is not the time to conceal the truth”, she said. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge wrote a four-page letter to Prime Minister Modi demanding the early filling of vacancies in Railways since loco pilots are overloaded with work. Opposition parties have the right to raise questions. The Balasore train accident is a big tragedy and accountability has to be fixed. But demanding the resignation of the Railway Minister will not end accidents. Had Ashwini Vaishnaw been a traditional politician, he could have resigned like other former railway ministers. But Vaishnaw has been an IAS officer, he is highly qualified, and he is a man who is not going to run away from problems. For the first time, I watched a Railway Minister rushing to the accident site and staying on, to personally supervise rescue operations, track restoration, identification, and handing over of bodies to families. Even after a 3-train pileup, the tracks were restored within 51 hours. This has happened for the first time. Normally, after rail accidents, the government announces ex-gratia assistance, and the relatives go from pillar to post for getting their cheques. But for the first time, I saw senior railway officials sitting at Balasore railway station, giving Rs 50,000 cash and Rs 9.5 lakh cheques to the next of kin of those who died, after checking their identity proof. This, I believe, is a big step. Relatives of those dead will get immediate assistance. They have lost their near and dear ones. But the main question remains. Until and unless it is established that the three-train crash occurred due to human error or due to sabotage, it will be difficult to prevent such accidents. I feel, instead of leaders trying to politicize the issue, they should help in finding out the exact cause of the accident.


India’s medal-winning wrestlers Sakshee Malikkh, Vinesh Phogat, and Bajrang Punia, who have been leading the wrestlers’ agitation against Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, have resumed their duties in Railways, but, at the same time, they have also clarified that their ‘satyagraha for justice will continue’. On Tuesday, a team of Delhi Police went to Singh’s residence in Gonda district, UP, and recorded the statements of 12 persons in connection with charges of sexual harassment levelled against the MP. So far, the special investigation team has recorded statements of more than 125 people including complainants, witnesses, and others involved. The three ace wrestlers refuted reports that they have called off their agitation. Sakshee Malikkh tweeted: “There are those who say our medals are worth Rs 15 each, they want us to quit our jobs. Our life is at stake, and jobs are nothing in comparison. If we find our job as an obstacle in our path of justice, we won’t take less than 10 seconds to quit. Don’t try to intimidate us in the name of jobs.” Bajrang Punia tweeted: “I appeal to people with folded hands to stay away from rumours”. The three wrestlers had met Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday night and since then rumours have been circulating that they have called off their agitation. Amit Shah has done the right thing in listening to the wrestlers. He has promised them that their allegations will be sincerely investigated and there will be no partiality. The agitating wrestlers were fearing that the probe would not be impartial. They felt that the police is trying to shield the MP. They felt that despite bringing laurels for the country, the government was trying to prove them wrong. Their fear and suspicion gave their agitation a political colour. Several opposition leaders tried to take advantage and their agitation took a political turn. From Priyanka Gandhi to Mamata Banerjee to Arvind Kejriwal, all these leaders extended support to the wrestlers. Farmers’ organisations tried to hijack their dharna. At the end of it, the dharna by wrestlers became a political forum. When visuals of police dragging the champion wrestlers on the ground were telecast on TV, when the wrestlers went to Haridwar to immerse their medals in river Ganga, the sentiments of people were hurt. These visuals were indeed sad to watch. Their tents were forcibly uprooted by police, their dharna had ended, but the movement took a bigger turn. Visuals of police excesses had far-reaching ramifications. BJP president J P Nadda directed Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh to stop giving statements and holding public meetings. Watching the government’s stance, the wrestlers regained confidence and decided to meet the Home Minister. Amit Shah’s position in the government kindled hope in the minds of wrestlers. Now the wrestlers have taken a softer stance. They are no more sitting on dharna, nor are they going to immerse their medals in Ganga. Instead, they have resumed their duties, but they have neither surrendered nor have they forgiven Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. Talks indicate a positive direction, but the wounds are deep and it will take time to heal.


In Bhagalpur, Bihar, an under-construction bridge being built at a cost of Rs 1700 crore crashed on Sunday like a pack of cards. The foundation of the bridge was laid by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 2014. The deadline for completion of work on this bridge was extended six times. Last year, some of its pillars crashed and an IIT experts’ committee was asked to probe. Before the inquiry report came, the entire bridge crashed. Nitish Kumar was making plans to inaugurate this bridge. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad asked, if Nitish Kumar had doubts about the durability of the bridge, and why no prompt action was taken. At the time of the foundation laying, Nitish Kumar was in alliance with BJP, but now RJD is his ally. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said, there were doubts about the bridge being defective since the beginning, and there were plans to demolish the bridge after getting experts’ report. The collapse of the Bhagalpur bridge is a living example of thriving corruption in Bihar. No amount of clarifications from Tejashwi Yadav or Nitish Kumar will convince common people. One could have understood if the bridge had collapsed once, but the same company was given the work even after the previous crash. From what I have learned, the contract for building the bridge was given to S P Singla Construction company, but it could not complete it within nine years. The surprising part is that this company has been given contracts to build six other bridges in Bihar by the Nitish Kumar government. This company is building the new Mahatma Gandhi Sethi on river Ganga at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore, the Jayaprakash Setu at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore, a bridge in Mokama at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore, and a flyover in Kishenganj town.  Nitish Kumar’s government must explain why contracts were given for other bridges when the Bhagalpur bridge crashed several times. Why is his government so helpful for this company? Nitish Kumar will not resign, but the least he can do is to get all the bridges being built by this company audited by experts.

Aaj Ki Baat: Monday to Friday, 9:00 pm

India’s Number One and most followed Super Prime Time News Show ‘Aaj Ki Baat- Rajat Sharma Ke Saath’ was launched just before the 2014 General Elections. Since its inception, the show is redefining India’s super-prime time and is numerically far ahead of its contemporaries.

Latest India News