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Utkal Express derails in UP's Khatauli: 23 dead, 97 injured
A major accident of train derailment has left at least 23 people dead and 97 others injured. The accident took place on Sunday evening around 5.45 pm when 14 coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli near Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh.

The train was on its way to Haridwar in Uttarakhand and was coming from Odisha. Reacting immediately to the accident, the government pushed in teams of PAC, ATS and NDRF to carry out the rescue operations.

As per various reports, the track on which the train was travelling had been put under unofficial maintenance. Unofficial maintenance is a routine affair in Indian Railways, though extremely risky. Railway officials undertake unofficial maintenance because of the high number of trains travelling and the pressure to maintain the tracks does not allow them time for officially declaring that the track is under maintenance. But drivers are informed of the maintenance by putting red signals or flags on the track. However in this case, no such sign had been put.

While the track is under maintenance, the speed of the train should not be greater than 15 kilometres per hour while the Utkal Express that met with the accident was travelling at a speed of 106 kmph because the driver of the train was not informed of the maintenance work that was going on. As per a report in the Hindustan Times, at least 5 metres of the track had been taken off when the train met the fateful accident. 

The Ministry of Railways has ordered an inquiry into the accident along with announcing Rs 3.5 lakh ex-gratia compensation for those who died in the accident and Rs 50,000 for those who have been left seriously injured. For those who have received minor injuries, the government has announced a compensation of Rs 25,000. The state government of Uttar Pradesh has also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for those who lost their lives and Rs 50,000 for those who have been injured.

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