From train crash site, focus shift to hospitals in Bhubaneswar

The AIIMS-Bhubaneswar housing 147 unidentified bodies has become the nerve-centre of activities with scenes of traumatized relatives breaking down in the course of identifying their loved ones.

From train crash site, focus shift to hospitals in Bhubaneswar

[Photo: SNS]

Three days after the horrific rail accident in Balasore that claimed 275 lives, the focus has been shifted to hospitals in Bhubaneswar grappling with the arduous task of disposal of unidentified bodies.

The AIIMS-Bhubaneswar, which housed 147 unidentified bodies, has become the nerve-centre of activities with scenes of traumatized relatives breaking down during the course of identifying their loved ones.

It is the toughest and traumatic ordeal of my life. The misfortune that bell on the people and task of identifying their dear ones amidst rows of dismembered bodies- had made the hospital a spot of spontaneous heartbreak. Never before in my 8 year stint here, I have encountered such a pathetic and touching scene from close quarters, narrated by a doctor officiating at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar.


Trauma and uncertainty are writ large on the faces of families who mostly hail from West Bengal and Jharkhand besides the southern States of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, he said.

Identification of badly mutilated bodies is a Herculean task. At least 50 bodies dismembered to such an extent that those are beyond recognition, he added.

Of the 147 bodies received at the hospital, 24 have been handed over to their relatives after proper identification. 123 bodies are currently stored in a cold mortuary with some of them not identified.

A man from Hyderabad, who lost his wife in the rail crash, turned up here in a frantic search for his 12-year-old daughter. He went round four hospitals in Bhubaneswar. He managed to identify his wife. But he could not identify his young daughter. We are coordinating with government agencies as the traumatized man believes that the young girl is still alive.

We have encountered several such cases of families traveling from Balasore, Bhadrak, and Cuttack to Bhubaneswar to find that their relatives are neither in hospitals for treatment nor in the mortuaries, the AIIMS official concluded.

Throwing light on the body disposal, State’s Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena told reporters here that 170 bodies (85 each in Bhubaneswar and Balasore) have been identified so far and are being handed over for transfer to destination after due process.

“Necessary arrangements for free transportation of the bodies by hearses/dead body carriers till destination have also been made to help the bereaved families, who are already under a lot of trauma” he said.

Arrangements have been made to collect applications for death certificates and process those for within a minimum time period. The vital legal document like death certificate will be sent either electronically or by speed post. The process will be hassle-free and the bereaved families will not be required to turn up again, he added.

It is too early to arrive at a conclusion that snagging in the signal system triggered the deadly rail tragedy that claimed 275 human lives and left over 1000 injured at Bahanaga rail station in Balasore district on Friday, Railway Safety Commissioner Shailesh Kumar Pathak said on Monday.

Pathak, who visited the accident site and inspected the station signal room, control room three days after the rail tragedy, said “the Commissioner of Railway Safety, South Eastern Circle has already launched an independent inquiry and the findings of the probe will throw light on the cause of the accident”.

It is too early to jump to a conclusion that failure of the signal system resulted in the horrific rail accident three days back, he added.

Meanwhile, there has been partial restoration of rail service on the track. A coal-laden goods train from Vizag port moved on the restored tracks towards Rourkela Steel Plant at around 10.40 pm yesterday. Later, passenger trains were also allowed to run on the tracks.