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SC appreciates steps taken by Railways to roll out Kavach, anti-collision system

The Supreme Court o­n April 15 recorded the steps taken by the Railways to prevent train accidents, including the implementation of the indigenous anti-collision system Kavach, and acknowledged the measures taken by the Ministry.
The recent appreciation from the Supreme Court regarding Indian Railways' proactive measures to mitigate train accidents underscores a significant step towards bolstering railway safety. This appreciation follows a thorough review of a status report by Attorney General R Venkataramani during a hearing presided over by Justices Surya Kant and K V Viswanathan.

During the hearing, the bench, while disposing of the petition, quoted "We appreciate the steps taken by the Indian Railways. That being so we are satisfied that the initiation of these proceedings in the Public Interest have been adequately addressed by the Union of India and Indian Railways.”

The hearing was based o­n a petition filed days after the crash involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, which were carrying around 2,500 passengers, and a goods train in June last year near Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore district of Odisha.

In February, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to file a status report o­n rail safety measures, including the Kavach system. Kavach, which literally means armour, was developed in 2002 by the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with three Indian vendors.

Justice K.V. Viswanathan, o­n the Bench, had quizzed the government about news reports that Kavach had been “partly implemented in certain areas”.At the time, Mr. Venkataramani had said there were “huge technical challenges involved”, and promised to include the details in a status report.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Railways' announcement o­n March 23, 2022, regarding the development of the Indigenous Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System dubbed Kavach signals a significant stride forward in ensuring the safety of train operations across India. This innovative system aims to introduce advanced safety measures, thereby reducing the likelihood of accidents and ensuring the well-being of passengers and railway staff alike.

However, while applauding these advancements, it is imperative to underscore the urgency and precision required in implementing the Kavach system across all railway lines and carriers without technical flaws. The plea advocates for a swift and comprehensive rollout of Kavach to uphold the highest standards of safety and reliability in the nation's railway network.
Kavach -   an Automatic Train Protection system
Kavach is an Automatic Train Protection system which was developed indigenously by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with the Indian industry. According to Indian Railways it is as a cost-effective Safety Integrity Level 4 (SIL-4) certified technology.

        In simple terms, Kavach aims to avert train collisions. If a train's speed exceeds the designated limits and the driver fails to intervene, this system automatically engages the train's braking mechanism. Indian Railways asserts that Kavach effectively prevents collisions between two trains equipped with this operational safety feature. Indian Railways’ capability to install Kavach will significantly increase the safety of the passengers.  

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