Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting a hospital to meet the victims of a three-train collision near Balasore, in India's eastern state of Odisha | Photo: PIB / AFP
Balasore: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said strong action would be taken against anyone found guilty in the train crash in Odisha that killed 288 people.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the accident site and meeting the injured persons at a hospital in Balasore district, Modi said he was unable to find words to express his pain.
"The government has taken the incident very seriously. No one would be spared and strong action would be taken against those found guilty in this mishap," he said.
"Instructions have been given to ensure proper and speedy investigation of the tragedy," he added.
The prime minister said that it was not possible to bring back those killed in the incident, but the government stands solidly behind their families.
"No stone will be left unturned to provide all possible medical help to those injured," he said.
Noting that this train accident will be a lesson for the country, he said the government will further stress on the safety of the passengers.
He lauded the efforts of the Odisha government in the rescue and relief operations, and commended the locals who turned up in large numbers for blood donation, and to help those injured.
After arriving here in an Air Force helicopter, Modi visited the accident site at Bahanaga and took stock of relief and restoration operations.
He was accompanied by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, an MP from the state.
The prime minister was briefed on the situation by Vaishnaw and officers of the disaster management teams that worked overnight to rescue people.
He also interacted with state Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Pramila Mallik and officers of the local police.
From the accident site, he spoke to Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, directing them to ensure all needed help to the injured and their families.
Modi said that special care must be taken to ensure that the bereaved families do not face any inconvenience and that those affected keep getting assistance.
He also enquired about the progress of the restoration work at the site, which is a part of the Howrah-Chennai Main Line that connects east India to the south.
"Took stock of the situation at the site of the tragedy in Odisha. Words can't capture my deep sorrow. We stand committed to providing all possible assistance to those affected. I laud all those working round the clock, on the ground and helping out in relief work," he later tweeted.
The prime minister also went to the Balasore district hospital, where he interacted with the injured persons.
Among the persons he spoke to, one was from Jharkhand, one from West Bengal and three from Odisha. He enquired about their condition and if they were facing any issues with the treatment. He assured them that all necessary steps were being taken to mitigate their plight.
The prime minister also interacted with doctors and health personnel there.
Before visiting Odisha, he had chaired a high-level meeting in New Delhi on the train accident, which happened on Friday evening.
"PM Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to take stock of the situation in the wake of the train mishap in Odisha. Aspects relating to rescue, relief and medical attention to those affected were discussed in the review meeting," his office tweeted.
Three trains -- Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and a goods train -- were involved in the accident, one of the worst railway tragedies in the country.