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Business News/ News / India/  Railway board recommends CBI probe into Odisha crash

New Delhi: The lapses resulting in the tragic accident in Odisha involving three trains killing at least 275 people and injuring 1,000 may now be investigated by the CBI with the railway board recommending a probe by the country’s premier investigation agency.

“Based on whatever administrative information we have till now and taking into account the situation on in which this accident took place, the railway board would recommend further inquiry into the Balasore train accident by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)," railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told media persons in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

Earlier, the minister has said that the accident would be probed by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS). Vaishnaw, who is in Odisha overseeing the restoration work and treatment for the injured, said that the root cause of the accident and criminals responsible for it have been identified.

While Vaishnaw did not say whether CBI probe would mean an end of investigations by the CRS, officers indicated that any finding by the railway inquiry would be shared with the CBI to facilitate a quicker investigation. The CBI would investigate whether the accident was result of a sabotage, signal error or human lapses.

The railway minister has also said that based on preliminary investigation showed that the accident on Friday happened due to a change in electronic interlocking. “Who has done it and what is the reason will come out of after an investigation," he had told news agency ANI.

Though the reason for the accident is being investigated, the railways is currently focusing on restoration of services on both lines on the main Howrah-Chennai route. It is expected that damaged tracks would be restored by Wednesday and normal rail service on the route may be started thereafter.

It may be recalled that on Friday evening the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express colluded with a stationary goods train after entering a loop line, diverting from the main line for which green signal was available. The train at that time was runing at a speed of 128 km/hr. This collision resulted in carriages derailing and ending up on an adjoining track. The Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express coming from the opposite direction and moving at a speed of 126 km/hr then rammed into the coaches and was also derailed.

What seems to have happened is the following as per experts. First the goods train moved to loop line to allow the Coromandel Express to pass along the main line. After the goods train moved to loop line, the switch blades are supposed to move the track back, to let any new train approaching the station continue the main track itself. When the signal is green, a locking system ensures that the track has moved back to the original position. This locking system, it seems failed, preventing tracks to come back to the main position and this diverted Coromandel express to the loop line to hit iron ore filled goods train.

Railway officials said that though this seems to be at play, investigations would bring out the real reasons.

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Updated: 04 Jun 2023, 11:03 PM IST
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