Balasore, June 4: Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday said that the tragic train accident in Odisha's Balasore occurred due to a "change in electronic interlocking".
Electronic interlocking is an arrangement of signal apparatus that prevents conflicting movements between trains through an arrangement of tracks. It is basically a safety measure to prevent signals from being changed in improper sequence. The aim of this system is that no train gets the signal to proceed unless the route is proven safe. Speaking to ANI, Ashwini Vaihsnaw said, "This is a different issue. It is about point machine, electronic interlocking. The change that occurred during electronic interlocking, the accident happened due to that. Whoever did it and how it happened will be found out after proper investigation."
He further said that restoration work is going on and normalcy will be restored before Wednesday morning.
"The commissioner of railway safety has investigated the matter and it won't be right for me to comment on that. Let the investigation report come. But the cause of the accident has been identified and the people responsible for it have been identified. Right now our focus is on restoration. There are two main lines and two loop lines. The work is underway and we will definitely complete restoration well before our target of Wednesday morning," Vaishnaw said.
The Railway Minister also refuted West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's allegation that the accident could have been averted with Kavach (anti-collision) device.
"It has nothing to do with Kavach. The reason is not what Mamata Banerjee said yesterday. She said as per understanding," he added.
Meanwhile, as per the official figures, the accident on Friday night left 288 people dead and over 1000 injured.
The three-way accident involved Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and a goods train on three separate tracks at Bahanaga Bazar Station in the Balasore district.
Aditya Kumar Chaudhary, the Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), South Eastern Railway said that the restoration work is underway at the site.
"Capsized bogies have been removed...2 bogies of goods train also have been removed...work of connecting track is going on from one side...will finish the work as soon as possible," he said.
As per the Ministry of Railways, the restoration work is going in full swing and the officials are closely monitoring the restoration process at the accident site.
A manpower of over 1000 people are engaged in the work. More than seven Poclain Machines, two Accident Relief Trains, 3-4 Railway and Road Cranes are deployed, the Ministry stated.
The preliminary report on the tragedy said the three-way accident involved Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Coromandel Express and a goods train on three separate tracks at Bahanaga Bazar Station in Balasore district.
As many as 17 coaches of these two passenger trains were derailed and severely damaged in the accident on Friday evening.
Seven National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Teams, five Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) Units and 24 Fire Services and Emergency units were involved in rescue operations.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed Mi-17 helicopters for the evacuation of the deceased and injured. According to the Eastern Command, IAF coordinated with the rescue efforts with the civil administration and Indian Railways.