In the last few days, Monika More (16), the girl who lost her forearms after she came under a moving train while trying to catch it, has been visited by Mayor Sunil Prabhu from Shiv Sena, Chitra Wagh from NCP, Kirit Somaiya from BJP and many other political and government personalities. Buckling under political pressure, the Central Railway (CR) is going to alter the design of platform two at Ghatkopar railway station.
However, railway officials state that the basic fault lay with the girl, who tried to catch a moving train. In the footage of the incident captured by the CCTV cameras, Monika More is seen waiting at the CST-end of the platform in front of the middle entrance of the coach. When the train arrived, she didn’t board it initially. When the train started moving, she began running towards the front door instead of the rear one. In the process she fell in the gap, which falls beyond the point where the train halts, and slipped towards the tracks.
“We cannot directly give any compensation. The Railway Claims Tribunal (RCT) will first study the incident based on the reports submitted by relevant authorities. They would then decide the compensation amount,” said a railway official. “She can approach the Prime Minister’s Office for compensation. We don’t have any power to release funds in such cases,” said another CR official. The maximum that the RCT can compensate is Rs 4 lakh for loss of both hands.”
Changes at Ghatkopar
The officials had a meeting yesterday to decide on the possibilities that could be worked out. These would be done after removing the signal pole and box consisting of wires from its present location on platform 2 and filling up the gap.
>> Have a vertical pole fitted 4.36 metres away from the centre of the track (as per rules), in the middle of the platform, away from passenger movement. Then, motormen and drivers need to be trained about this signal pole, which will have brighter lights.
>> Suspend signal lights horizontally from the platform roof. Authorities will inspect if the metal rods holding the roof can take up the weight of the signal lights. Lighter weighing signals are also being looked into.
>> Shift the signal completely, further towards the CST end of the platform. This will affect the punctuality of services and could make the foot over-bridge at the Kalyan end redundant.
Railways to raise height
Acting after the accident and on several commuter complaints, rail authorities are planning to raise the level of platforms to their maximum permissible height on the Mumbai suburban section. As per the Railways Act, a platform should be anywhere between 760 mm-840 mm from the level of tracks. CR has planned to level all 550 platforms on their 126 stations to 840 mm. Sources added that they had already applied with the Railway Board to increase the height to nearly 920 mm, for which a decision is pending. However, any increase above 840 mm might result in train derailment or the train’s under-frame impinging on the platforms.
*The figures include deaths caused by passengers falling off trains, hitting signal poles, falling in gaps, crossing railway tracks and being electrocuted by overhead wires