By Biswa Bhusan Mohapatra
Bhubaneswar, Jun 3 (IANS): Following the ghastly train accident in Balasore on Friday that left 288 dead and over 800 injured, the Odisha government on Saturday set up a temporary mortuary at the business park of North Orissa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI) on the outskirts of the city, an official said.
The 40,000 sq ft Expo Hall of the NOCCI has been converted into a mortuary where unidentified bodies will be stored, the official said.
The place is about 15 km from the accident site near Bahanaga railway station in Balasore district.
Speaking to IANS over phone, Balasore Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Sucharu Bal said, "We have set up a mortuary at NOCCI. The bodies will be preserved in ice-ridden beds put up at the big hall. Sufficient beds with ice slabs have been kept there to store the unidentified bodies."
So far, 55 bodies have been identified and handed over to the family members after autopsy, he said.
Out of the remaining bodies, 27 have been shifted to the mortuary from local hospitals after conducting post-mortem, the ADM informed.
Bal said the remaining bodies are kept at the Bhanaga High School, which has been converted into a makeshift mortuary, for identification.
The unidentified bodies will be shifted from the Bahanaga High School to the temporary mortuary at NOCCI, he said.
"As most of the deceased are from other states like West Bengal and Bihar, the process of identification has become difficult," Bal said.
Nearly half of the passengers who sustained minor injuries have been discharged from the hospitals after treatment. About 418 injured passengers are undergoing treatment at Gopalpur, Khantapara, Balasore, Bhadrak, Soro and the SCB Medical College in Cuttack.
Maximum injured persons have been admitted to the local hospitals. Only the serious patients are being referred to SCB Medical College, which is about 173 km from Balasore.
More than 100 medical teams with paramedical staff along with medicines have been mobilised to the accident site, while 200 ambulances are engaged in shifting the injured to the hospitals, officials said.
Besides, 30 buses have been engaged for the movement of stranded passengers.