The tragic triple train accident in Balasore, Odisha's Bahanaga Bazar railway station, which claimed the lives of at least 288 people and injured around 900 others, has shed light on the failure of the signalling system as the primary cause. The incident involved the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express and SMVB-HWH Super-fast Express, both of which derailed. Additionally, a goods train was involved in the collision.
Parliamentary Panel's Recommendations to Enhance Railway Safety
In a recent development, a report from a Parliamentary panel chaired by the BJP has surfaced, highlighting crucial recommendations to the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS). If implemented in a timely manner across the country, these recommendations could potentially prevent future accidents.
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Concerns over Disregard for Commissioner of Railway Safety's Recommendations
In December 2022, the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Transport, Tourism, and Culture, led by former BJP Rajya Sabha member TG Venkatesh, expressed concerns about the Railway Board's disregard for the recommendations of the Commissioner of Railway Safety. The committee observed the absence of existing rules and regulations for DFCCIL (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited) or goods trains, as well as the CRS's lack of information regarding accidents on DFCCIL routes. It further noted that only a small percentage of accidents were investigated by the CRS, with the Railways handling the majority of cases without involving the CRS for comments.
Call for Implementation of Train Collision Avoidance System 'KAVACH'
While acknowledging the implementation of the indigenous Train Collision Avoidance System 'KAVACH' by the Railways, the parliamentary committee recommended its phased installation on all routes. The committee proposed prioritizing the installation of KAVACH on routes prone to accidents.
Decrease in Consequential Train Accidents and Development of ATP System
The Railway Board informed the committee about the gradual decrease in consequential train accidents over the years. They also mentioned the development of India's own Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system called Kavach, a collaboration between the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) and three Indian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The Kavach system, a Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), has been successfully tested on 250 route kilometers of Indian Railways.
Parliamentary Committee Explores Road Safety Measures
The Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Tourism, and Culture, which also focuses on road highways, has held meetings on road safety. It has made recommendations such as the development of helicopter landing areas at accident sites to facilitate the immediate airlifting of the injured.
Opposition Leader Highlights Ignored Parliamentary Panel Reports
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi took to Twitter, highlighting the alleged ignorance of Parliamentary panel reports on railway safety.
TG Venkatesh, the BJP leader who chaired the committee, declined to comment on the recent train accident and the report presented in Parliament.