Odisha train accident: Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday inspected the restoration work underway at the site where the tragic train accident happened in Odisha's Balasore district that has killed 275 people and more than1,100 injured. The crash involving three trains is one of the worst rail accidents in India in nearly three decades.
The railway officials are closely monitoring the restoration process at the accident site and more than 1000 manpower working tirelessly. At present, more than 7 Poclain Machines, 2 Accident Relief Trains, and 3-4 Railway and Road Cranes have been deployed for early restoration.
After the inspection, the Railway Minister said on Sunday that the "root cause" of the triple-train accident has been identified and the people responsible for it. Vaishnaw further said that at present restoration work is ongoing and all bodies have been recovered from the accident spot.
‘Root cause accident identified’
"The root cause of this accident has been identified. PM Modi inspected the site yesterday. We will try to restore the track today. All bodies have been removed. Our target is to finish the restoration work by Wednesday morning so that trains can start running on this track," he said.
‘Happened due to change in electronic interlocking’
He said that the accident happened due to a change in electronic interlocking. “The commissioner of railway safety has investigated the matter and let the investigation report come but we have identified the cause of the incident and the people responsible for it... It happened due to a change in electronic interlocking. Right now our focus is on restoration,” said Vaishnaw.
The Railways Minister said that it has nothing to do with Kavach. “The reason is not what Mamata Banerjee said yesterday. This incident happened due to a change in electronic interlocking,” he added.
The crash involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, which were carrying around 2,500 passengers, and a goods train occurred around 7 PM on Friday near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar.
Twenty-one coaches were derailed and severely damaged in the accident, trapping hundreds of passengers. Both passenger trains were at a high speed and it has been cited by experts as one of the main reasons for the high number of casualties.
What preliminary investigations report says
As per the news agency PTI, preliminary investigations in the train crash have revealed that a signal was given to Coromandel Express to enter the main line but it was taken off and the train entered the loop line and crashed into a goods train parked there. The Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express which was coming at high speed rammed into the coaches of Coromandel Express that had scattered on the adjacent track.
Earlier on Saturday, investigators were looking into any human error, signal failure and other possible causes behind the three-train crash.
High-level probe initiated
The Indian Railways has initiated a high-level probe into the accident that will be headed by the commissioner of railway safety, South Eastern Circle, officials said. While sources had earlier said a signalling failure could be the reason behind the crash, railway officials said it is not yet clear if Coromandel Express entered the loop line and hit the stationary goods train or it first derailed and then hit the parked train after entering the loop line.
(With agencies input)