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Dangerous poles lurk near tracks

The Thursday incident on Central Railway (CR) between Bhandup and Nahur stations, while regrettable, is by no means a one-off. Though only a thorough probe will reveal the causes and true nature of the tragedy, passengers on teeming trains being hit by poles neighbouring the tracks is not a rare occurrence. Several of these masts have been identified as dangerous by railway police.

According to the Government Railway Police (GRP), there are 37 dangerous poles on the Central and Western lines. A senior railway official said, “We keep reminding railway officials through letters and other ways to remove the dangerous poles, but somehow the matter gets overlooked. Many passengers get affected due to these poles during peak hours.” He also said that the incident, which has taken place on Thursday morning, was due to the heavy rush and overcrowding on the train.

Again and again
Ten people died in separate incidents in 2011 on Central Railway after dashing with railway poles. There were no such reports this year till yesterday. However, CR registered 98 cases of injuries in 2011 and 26 such cases till March this year. Several such incidents go unrecorded as passengers don’t come forward and minor injuries are left unreported.

According to railway police, out of the 37 dangerous poles, 17 are in CR and 18 in WR. These are near CST, Dadar, Kurla, Thane, Dombivli, Kalyan, Karjat, Wadala, Panvel, Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Bandra, Khar Road, Santacruz, Andheri, Goregaon, Kandivli, Vasai etc. Vidyadhar Malegaonkar, Chief PRO, CR, said, “We have not violated any norms for the distance between poles and tracks.”   

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