What is train ‘Kavach’ and why is it trending after the Odisha train accident?
The Odisha triple-train accident, which resulted in 290 deaths and 1,175 injuries, brought into focus the Kavach initiative that aims to make the Indian Railways safer.
An overview of the news
The Kavach system has not yet started on the Odisha route.
Railways confirmed that no 'Kavach' system has been installed in the trains to prevent them from colliding with each other.
The government is being severely criticized for neglecting railway safety.
Coverage of Kavach
To prevent incidents of accidents, the government announced in 2022 that it would launch a new avatar of Kavach on a trial basis, initially covering a distance of 2,000 kilometers and then expanding the coverage further.
Only 1,455 km of railway routes under South Central Railway have been brought under Kavach by January 2023.
The government plans to expand it from 4,000 to 5,000 km in FY24.
For reference, Indian Railways has a total route coverage of around 1.03 lakh km.
A little over 1% of the route of the Indian Railways is protected by Kavach as of now.
What is Kavach?
Kavach is an indigenous Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system.
It was developed by the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), an Indian Railways department, way back in 2002.
The Kavach system is designed to prevent collisions of trains – a leading cause of railway accidents in India.
It is a set of electronic devices and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices installed in locomotives, in the signalling system as well as the tracks.
They communicate with each other using ultra high radio frequency to control the brakes of the trains and also alert the drivers.
While there have been 58 railway accidents in the last 10 years, the Odisha accident is the deadliest.
This protection system is aimed at avoiding accidents arising out of driver-related or technical errors, as well as aid drivers (loco pilots) in running the trains safely even in inclement weather conditions.
It activates the train braking system automatically if the driver fails to control the train as per the speed restrictions.
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