Railways Seeks CBI Probe Into Odisha 3-Train Crash That Killed Over 270

Odisha 3-Train Crash: The Railways ministry has requested the Central Bureau of Investigation investigate the three-train pile-up in Odisha’s Balasore. There have been more than 270 deaths in Friday’s accident, one of the worst in the country.

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“Taking into account what happened and the information the administration has, the Railways board has recommended that the investigation be handed over to the CBI,” Railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.

According to the minister, the “root cause” of the horrific collision has been identified and will be revealed in a report shortly. A change in “electronic interlocking” caused the accident, he said. 

Due to a “signalling interference”, the Coromandel Express was involved in an accident when its engine and coach collided with a goods train laden with iron ore.

During the impact, coaches of the Coromandel Express also rammed a couple of coaches of the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express that was approaching at a high speed, the railways said.

“Kavach”, the indigenously developed automatic train protection system, was not available on the route where the accident occurred. However, a railway official said the system would not have prevented the accident if it had been in place.

The Railway Board’s Chairman, Jaya Verma Sinha, said no technology could prevent all accidents, citing examples of boulders suddenly falling in front of vehicles.

Rail safety lapses have been cited in an audit report of railways by critics, however. In September last year, the report was tabled in Parliament.

As a result of the crash, opposition parties questioned the government’s lack of safety measures.  Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a former railway minister, said the crash could have been prevented if trains were equipped with anti-collision systems.

275 deaths were revised down from 288 in the triple train accident, according to the Odisha government on Sunday, and 1,175 injuries were reported. It is the third worst rail disaster in the country, according to the figures.

As one of the world’s largest rail networks, India has experienced a number of disasters. In 1981, between 800 and 1,000 people were killed when a train derailed while crossing a bridge in Bihar and plunged into the river below.

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