In a recent press conference, Jaya Varma Sinha, a Member of Operation and Business Development at the Railway Board, explained why the implementation of Kavach would not have averted the tragic Coromandel three-train accident, even if it had been active on the route.
Sinha emphasized that when a high-speed vehicle unexpectedly encounters an obstruction, no technology in the world can completely prevent an accident. She acknowledged the possibility of various factors contributing to the incident, such as manual interference, weather conditions, or equipment failure in electronic systems. Sinha highlighted the need for a comprehensive investigation to determine the exact cause.
Regarding the preliminary findings, Sinha stated that there seemed to be an issue with the signaling system. However, the Railway Board awaits the detailed report from the Commissioner of Railway Safety for a conclusive understanding.
Dismissing speculations about overspeeding trains, Sinha insisted that the accident’s severity resulted from the impact on the Coromandel Express, as the goods train, which was carrying iron ores, remained unaffected. The derailed bogies of the Coromandel Express collided with the last two bogies of the Yashwantpur Express, which was crossing at a speed of 126 km/h on the down line.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also acknowledged the failure of the interlocking mechanism as the cause of the accident. He expressed confidence in a thorough investigation to uncover the details of the incident and identify the responsible party.
Elaborating on the interlocking mechanism, Sandip Mathur, an official from the Railway Board, explained its purpose in determining whether the loop line is clear or occupied. The mechanism can be electronic or non-electronic, with the accident site employing the electronic variant.
After the accident, Jaya Varma Sinha emphasized that the Railways prioritized relief and rescue operations. Repair work commenced after attending to these urgent matters. Bahanaga station, where the incident occurred, consists of four lines, including two main lines and a loop line where the goods train was located. The driver had received a green signal at the station, and both trains were operating at full speed.
To assist the injured or the families of the deceased, the Railways established a helpline number (139), manned by senior officers who are dedicated to addressing callers’ concerns. The Railways also assured support for the injured individuals, covering their travel expenses and providing necessary provisions.
Jaya Varma Sinha shared that the Railways had already disbursed an ex-gratia amount of Rs 3.5 crore, with Rs 50,000 allocated for minor injuries, Rs 2 lakh for severe injuries, and Rs 10 lakh for the deceased victims of the accident.