Indian Railways on Sunday said that indigenously-developed automatic train protection system "Kavach," which was not installed on the route where the accident in Odisha's Balasore occurred on Friday evening, could not have prevented it.
In the tragic train accident, two passenger trains and a goods train collided, resulting in loss of at least 275 lives and leaving approximately 1,000 injured.
In response to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's query about the absence of Kavach, Railway Board's Member, Operations and Business Development Jaya Varma Sinha, reiterated Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw's statement that the crash was unrelated to Kavach.
According to her, Kavach would not have prevented such an accident as there are certain incidents that no technology in the world can avert, citing the example of boulders suddenly falling in front of vehicles to illustrate her point.
Sinha said that the system is designed to detect instances where a locomotive pilot jumps a signal, known as Signal Passed at Danger (SPAD), which is one of the primary causes of train collisions. When the system identifies another train on the same track within a predetermined distance, it promptly alerts the locomotive pilot, takes control of the brakes, and automatically brings the train to a halt.
"Currently, restoration work is in progress at the incident site, and it is anticipated that two railway lines will be operational by 8 p.m. today. However, trains are expected to operate at reduced speeds initially. An inquiry is underway, with investigations being conducted from various perspectives. While the initial assessment suggests that the issue could be related to signalling, no conclusive authentication can be provided at this time," Sinha added.