The Balasore/Balasore train accident in Odisha was caused by a signal error. The Ministry of Railways has claimed this while releasing the report of the Commissioner of Railway Safety on the disastrous train accident on Friday.
Defects occurred during signaling work for Signaling Circuit Change and Replacement of Electric Lifting Barrier at North Signal Gumti station, the report revealed in response to questions raised by MP Dr. John Brittas in Rajya Sabha.
The report states that the collision between the trains was caused by a fault in the signalling-circuit-change carried out at North Signal Gumti (of the station) on the previous day. The error occurred during signaling work related to replacement of electric lifting barrier for level crossing gate no. 94 at the station.
Due to these mistakes, the green signal was shown for the wrong line, due to which the train collided with a stationary goods train.
The Union Railway Minister replied that the issue reflects gross lapses and negligence on the part of railway officials.
As per details available from the Railways, the identity of 41 officials injured in the accident is yet to be ascertained.
However, the government has not provided the data of train accidents for the last three years due to mistakes like the Odisha train accident.
MP Dr. John Brittas while requested for the same. To this the government only said that there were failures but there was no such failure which led to such a serious incident like Balasore.
The Central Government has handed over the investigation of the train accident to the CBI. The CBI had arrested three railway employees, Arun Kumar Mahanta, Mohd Amir Khan and Pappu Kumar, in early July. He has been charged with culpable homicide and destruction of evidence. The accused are currently in judicial custody after the CBI remand period expired on July 15. The next hearing has been fixed on July 27.
On the other hand, after this accident, Archana Joshi, General Manager of South Eastern Railway was removed from her post for negligence and Anil Kumar Mishra has been appointed in her place.
The CRS report claimed that the Balasore tragedy could have been prevented if corrective measures had been taken after the incident.
Reacting to the CRS report, the Congress alleged that the Narendra Modi government has completely compromised on the basic issues of railway safety. It exposes human error, failure of management and political leadership.