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380 people have died while crossing railway tracks in Pune over the last 6 months

The figure is the highest for this period in three years; of these, over 380 people lost their lives while crossing train tracks

New half-yearly data released by the Pune Railway Division shows that a record number -- 28,332 -- cases have been registered for trespassing railway tracks in the past six months alone (January to June 2014). This is the highest number of cases recorded in three years.

Crossing the line
Crossing the line: The increase in the number of people crossing railway tracks has prompted the Pune railway division to conduct regular drives to fine and discourage trespassers. File Pic.

During the same period, over 380 people lost their lives attempting to cross railway tracks illegally. Concerned with the ballooning numbers of trespassers, the Pune railway division is making efforts to discourage them.

The railway division is worried because this year’s figure marks a significant increase from the 27,086 cases recorded in the same period last year, and an especially steep rise from the 2,430 cases registered in 2012.

To discourage trespassers, the division has been conducting surprise checks at platforms. Those caught are charged under Section 147 of the Indian Railway Act, fined up to Rs 1,000, and warned about the dangers of crossing the tracks.

A total of Rs 36 lakh has been collected in the form of fines from violators so far, but there has been no significant decrease in their number. According to the data, around 157 people put their lives at risk every day by crossing the railway lines illegally.

“Despite repeated attempts at educating people, they do not seem to take the dangers seriously. Therefore, we had to carry out a special drive against illegal trespassers,” said the division’s public relations officer, Yogendra Kumar Singh.

Officials said that despite all stations under Pune division having foot over-bridges, commuters have a habit of crossing tracks to save time.

Abhay Parmar, senior police inspector, Government Railway Police (GRP) said, “Most of the time, people who are in a hurry tend to cross the railway tracks illegally and they do not even bother to check whether a train is heading towards them or not. Many people speak on the phone or listen to music while they are crossing the tracks, which is even more dangerous.”

“The number is increasing with every passing year, therefore we will carry out the drive on a regular basis and ensure that people start using the foot over-bridges for their own safety,” he added.

Punishment

As per Section 147 of the Indian Railway Act, if any person enters any part of the railway property without lawful authority, he can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or can be fined up to Rs 1,000, or both.

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