'Uncle, I will always remember you': PTR shares a touching story of rescuing injured in Madurai train fire mishap!

Tamil Nadu Minister of Information and Technology, P Thiaga Rajan (PTR) has been one of the frontliners in rescuing the distressed people who were injured in a train fire mishap that occurred in Madurai recently. The mishap had killed at least nine people and injured dozens who had been getting treated in the hospital. Besides announcing solatium to the deceased, the Tamil Nadu government had launched a mission of sending the injured back to the home without any hassles. 

PTR has been a vital part of the mission and he was on the ground, along with other officials, taking stock of the situation, the medical treatments for the injured and the arrangements to send them back home. Around 64 people had started from their home state Uttar Pradesh for a pilgrimage to Tamil Nadu, to visit several iconic religious places. They began their tour on August 17 in a private party coach and their travel was arranged by a private tour operator. 

They reached Kanniyakumari on August 25 and after visiting several temples, they had returned to their private coach, which was attached to the Punalur-Madurai Express at Nagercoil. Their plan was to visit temples in Madurai and then to reach Chennai from where they would be attached to a train towards home. In the wee hours of August 26, the train reached Madurai and the coach was removed and kept at the stabling line. The people inside the coach had smuggled a cooking gas cylinder and when they tried to prepare tea, the cylinder got exploded and the fire had quickly spread to the other parts of the coach. 

As the doors of the coach were looked inside, the passengers struggled to open them and as no one had spotted the burning coach, it took fire and rescue personnel 30 minutes to arrive at the spot. When the rescue teams arrived at the spot, there were several fatalities and it was announced that nine people had died while several others were injured. The probe into the incident was launched and the Tamil Nadu government has taken measures to recover the injured and send them home safely. 

As the incident had happened in Madurai, PTR, who belongs to Madurai, was among the frontliners to execute the mission. The minister visited the hospital where the injured are being treated and discussed with the authorities about the situation. He had shared a heart-touching story amidst tears and tragedy and he also remembered a gratitude from the youngest member of the tour group, who said to him, 'I will always remember you'. 

Taking to social media, PTR wrote, "Uncle, I will always remember you - The youngest member of the tour group affected by the tragedy. After God saved us from fire, we have been so well looked after by all of you. We are truly grateful. We hope we will have MLAs and Ministers like you in our state - Adult survivors." He further wrote, "When tragedies occur, the humane, quintessentially Tamil response is to aid the victims as if they were members of our immediate family." 

"As a descendant of this magnanimous culture where helping people in distress is built into our DNA, as a former executive and administrator with decades of professional experience, as the MLA of the constituency where the tragedy occurred, and as a person who seeks to build bridges, I was gratified that I could do my part to the post-event recovery and relief efforts following the tragic fire which destroyed the entire compartment/coach in which a group of 64 tourists were traveling on a chartered pilgrimage tour, along with some employees of the tour operator", the minister added. 

He further said, "We were able to combine the measures authorised by the Hon'ble CM MK Stalin and the usual measures and resources of the IRCTC and Railways, to do our best to the survivors, as well as preserve the dignity and ensure the rapid return of the deceased to their homes." On the other hand, five passengers who initially went missing but were later found following the fire accident in a private coach have been arrested by the Railway Police. The arrested people include the staff of the Sitapur-based Bhasin Travel agency and they were sent to judicial custody until September 11.