Ashwini Vaishnaw speaks to reporters on Saturday.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Saturday said that a high-level committee has already been declared to conduct an inquiry into the train accident in Odisha's Balasore that left 238 people dead and over 900 injured. He said that the Commissioner of Railway Safety has been called and an investigation will be held by him as well to try and identify the root cause of the accident.
Mr Vaishnaw said the entire focus of the government right now is on the rescue operation and the treatment of the injured.
"Our prayers go out to the families and the souls of those who have died. Teams from the Railways, National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force and the state government have been engaged in rescue operations since last night," the minister said in Hindi.
Asked about the opposition demanding his resignation, Mr Vaishnaw said, "The focus right now should be on rescue and relief."
Mr Vaishnaw, who was the Collector of Balasore in his first posting as an IAS officer, said that work on restoration will begin as soon as the district administration gives clearance. When he was asked whether there was evidence of any negligence, he said, "We can't say anything now. We will know only after the inquiry is over."
The train accident took place around 7 pm on Friday when the Coromandel Express derailed and hit a goods train. Another passenger train, the Yeshvantpur-Howrah Superfast Express, crashed into the derailed coaches.