After a disastrous accident involving three trains in Odisha, at least 250 people were killed and over 900 injured on Friday, June 2. The tragic accident happened when the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express derailed on its way to Chennai. It rammed into a freight train on the adjoining track which caused the rear carriage to swerve off into the third track. It collided with the Bengaluru-Howrah Express that was fast approaching from the opposite direction on the third track.
The train crash, one of the most destructive in the country, occurred in Balasore district roughly 166 km from Kharagpur and 171 km north of Bhubaneshwar around 7 pm on June 2. This is one of the most fatal train accidents in India. The accident prompted the Railway Ministry to order a probe. The commissioner of railway safety, South-Eastern Circle is set to hold an enquiry into the accident. PM Modi convened a high-level meeting to gauge the situation.
The politics started rolling into the incident and opposition started targeting the ruling party “Railways should prioritize the lives of the passengers more than anything. Earlier, railway ministers would resign on such train accidents but now there is no one who is willing to speak up,” said Ajit Pawar, NCP leader. There have been demands from many political leaders across the nation to conduct a high-level detailed inquiry into the accident. The Railway is looking at signalling error as the main cause of the accident.
Following the tragedy, several trains have been cancelled or diverted. Special trains carrying family members of the accident-affected passengers are set to run from Chennai. Another special train will run from Howrah to Balasore.
The Odisha train tragedy serves as an example of the grave dangers the failure of precision technology can have. It is an unfortunate event that displays the magnitude of the impact caused by the failure of such devices. Technologies like advanced signalling and automated controls are designed to improve the efficiency and safety of train operations but when these technologies fail or malfunction due to circumstances unknown the outcome can be extremely severe.
A critical failure of precision technology is the most plausible explanation for the cause of the Odisha Train Accident. This failure could have been brought about by various factors like software glitches, hardware malfunctions, or any other external factors.
Such failure of precision technology disrupts the normal functioning of the train and disrupts the automated systems or its ability to send correct signals. The trains are rendered unable to respond correctly to the situation. This may confuse the train operators and the trains may have been given incorrect information about track conditions and the presence of other trains leading to potential safety hazards as seen in this unfortunate accident.
“Just recently, the honourable railway minister announced that they have a major device whereby accidents will not occur. I think it is a must to investigate whether that device was there and why was it not functioning if it was there. I think all of us want to know what happened,” said Farooq Abdullah, National Conference President with respect to the cause of the accident.
Precision technology can enhance the efficiency and safety of train operation but incidents like the Odisha train accident are a grave reminder that even advanced technology is not free of malfunctions or mishaps. Constant research and development to improve precision technology and safety technology is paramount to preventing such tragic accidents from happening again