A herd of 30 sheep got killed after coming under the Deccan Express at Ghorawadi station on Saturday. Though railway traffic was not affected, the tracks near the station area were a mess, with blood and mutilated remains of the sheep strewn around.
The incident again brought to the fore the issue of animals straying on to tracks, cases of which have been rising and often resulting in disruption of railway traffic.
According to the police, a train going towards Mumbai from the city had reached Ghorawadi near Talegaon at 4 pm and went over a herd of sheep. The train was in full speed and did not stop; the shepherd ran away from the spot.
As there is a turn before Ghorawadi station, the shepherd did not realise a train was approaching.
“Such incidents are creating lots of problems for railway traffic,” railway spokesperson Y K Singh said. “Recently, on the Pune-Solapur route, the total schedule saw a collapse because of animals on the track. Accidents of the kind are a major loss to the farmer or shepherd concerned and also disturb railway traffic. We are creating awareness in the villages to make residents understand the system of signalling and stress the importance of crossing tracks using overbridges.”
The Pune Railway Division has also been conducting a special drive against trespassers. This year the railway authorities booked 4,851 trespassers and collected Rs 5.65 lakh in fines.
“Disrupting railway traffic is a cognizable offence and the owner of the animals or the person who is trespassing can get imprisonment of up to six months and be slapped with a fine of Rs 1,000,” Singh said.
PI (GRP) Mahendra Rokade said the police were doing their bit to prevent disruption of railway services.
“We are conducting routine patrolling near station areas and tracks,” Rokade said. “Actually, animals on the tracks is not a law and order issue and the railway administration should take care of the issue. But from our side we are informing railway administration about trespassing.”
Recent incidents of animals on tracks
>> On November 13, a buffalo came under the Pune-Solapur Express at Loni, disrupting railway traffic for 30 minutes
>> On October 16 and 17, three buffalos and a cow came under the Chenai-CST mail at Lonavala section, which affected six trains between the city and Mumbai