Rashmi Ranjan

In the aftermath of Odisha triple train tragedy at Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Balasore, which claimed more than 290 lives, the Indian Railways has shifted its focus to bolster signalling system.

While the Railway department has entrusted IIT Kharagpur with the key responsibility, Aurobinda Routray, an Odia professor posted at the premier educational institute, is leading the project to develop a tamper-proof signalling system based on blockchain technology.

Routray, a professor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering department of the institute, had planned to develop the tamper-proof signalling system following Bahanaga train tragedy. He is presently working on its design in association with Railway department officials. It will take another 15 days to complete the design of the robust system.

“We have proposed the plan and working in close association with the Railways officials to prepare a chart. We are in the design state of the project. If the ministry approves it, we will proceed further,” Routray said.

As per Routray, blockchain system is a tamper-proof database that can never be hacked or manipulated. Besides, it also enables all persons working in the train management system including the loco pilot, signal manager and station manager to access real-time data. The system is widely used in cryptocurrency and banking transactions. 

Much before the Bahanaga train tragedy, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had assigned IIT Bhubaneswar and Kharagpur to develop modern train communication, train control and security systems.

“The train’s safety and security can be enhanced with the blockchain technology as this is a tamper-proof database. All information will be transacted through this in a real-time manner and will be recorded,” Routray informed.

If the design of blockchain technology system gets Indian Railways' approval, a 50-member team from IIT Kharagpur and Bhubaneswar will be engaged in the robust project; and it will be completed in two years, Routray added.

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