A month after the Odisha train collision, one of India’s worst-ever railway crashes, three Indian Railways employees have been charged with culpable homicide.
On 2 June, over 290 people were killed and more than a thousand were left injured when a passenger train was mistakenly signalled onto the same line as a stationary freight car.
A statement from India’s Central Bureau of Investigation explained the two signal engineers and one technician were charged with culpable homicide and destruction of evidence. It did not name the railway employees.
At 6:50pm on 2 June 2023, the Coromandel Express, which operates from Kolkata in West Bengal to Chennai in Tamil Nadu, collided at a speed of 80mph (128km/h) with a suspended freight train in the Balasore district of Odisha.
According to South Eastern Railway, at around 7pm, carriages from the freight train then collided with two coaches of the Howrah Superfast Express train, which was heading in the opposite direction.
The disaster in Odisha was the deadliest Indian train collision in over two decades and the third worst train collision since 1954.
In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, the Indian government promised compensation for the families of those killed and an investigation was initiated on 5 June.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has overseen renewed investment in India’s rail network in recent federal budgets. The Ministry of Railways’ 2023 budget set out that: “In 2023-2024, Indian Railways’ capital expenditure is targeted at INR2,600bn ($727.12bn), an increase of 6% over the previous year.”