RANGIYA, July 10: At least hundred persons were injured in a blast under the down Puri Express at Bhatkuchi in between Rangiya and Ghograpar railway stations at around 8.15 pm today. The condition of nearly 15 of the injured persons is stated to be serious.
Though the identity of the militant group involved in the incident is yet to be ascertained, police suspect the involvement of militants belonging to the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) in the blast. The militants planted the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on the tracks and triggered it off from a distance as a wire was also found in the area.
Six coaches of the train were derailed immediately after the blast resulting in a hue and cry among the passengers. Two coaches fell into a ditch on the approach to the Nona river bridge. The people of the locality swung into action immediately and managed to rescue the passengers from the derailed bogies. But the dark night hampered rescue operations and the passengers complained to this correspondent that the rescue teams from the Railways and the police arrived at the spot only much later. However, it is still not known whether anyone was trapped under the derailed bogies. It may be mentioned here that the train was crowded as a large number of people were enroute to Puri on summer vacation.
Though the 108 ambulances rushed to the area, those could not reach the spot because of lack of any approach road and the injured had to be carried to the ambulances. Most of the injured passengers had to wait for rescue teams of the Railways for more than an hour on the tracks after they were pulled out of the derailed bogies by the local people. Lack of stretchers and floodlights also affected rescue operations as the injured had to be carried out to the ambulances.
The blast caused major damage to the track and several incoming and outgoing trains had to be regulated at various stations. Railway sources however, could not say as of now as to when train services on the track would be resumed.