Mumbai: Arch rivals GRP and RPF clash over death toll

Both claim to maintain detailed records of deaths on Western Railway but still cannot agree on the exact number of fatalities, with GRP recording 44 more deaths than RPF

Even when it is a matter of life and death, you can’t rely on the authorities to get their act together. Far from putting their heads together to think of ways to curb railway fatalities, the Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) can’t even agree on the number of people who have died trespassing. Both the rival agencies took note of all trespassing deaths on Western Railway between January and April but, somehow, the GRP records show 44 more deaths than the RPF.

According to the GRP, an average of 10 people die trespassing every day. File pic for representation
According to the GRP, an average of 10 people die trespassing every day. File pic for representation

RPF officials agreed that there is a difference in the data and added that they are working on improving the situation. But sources in the GRP said that their figures are genuine, as they have a better system in place. Sources said that both railway bodies held a meeting on Thursday to discuss the measures to tackle trespassing and also gauge the reason behind the differing statistics.

Fight to death
The death toll is just one more thing they differ on; the two agencies have been at loggerheads for a long time over their policing roles. While the GRP takes action under the IPC in case of crimes or mishaps, the RPF is restricted to action under the Railways Act, in case of losses to railways or problems to passengers from touts, illegal ticket sales or hawkers on rail premises. There have been discussions of separating the two agencies and giving RPF powers under the IPC as well.

Experience: The Government Railway Police has been collating data on railway fatalities on both the Central and Western railways since many years.

Method: After every accident, the GRP is called to the spot to prepare the accident report. The GRP is the authority that categorises the cause of death in each case. “We make a detailed report of the accident that is reported to us. Our men also go to the spot where the accident has taken place,” said a GRP officer.

Average number of deaths: According to the GRP, on average, about 9-11 people die on the tracks every day — 3-4 on CR and 5-6 death on WR. This average is calculated on the basis of the annual total of fatalities.

Experience:The Railway Protection Force began recording railway deaths on the Western Railway just last year. They do not maintain any such records on Central Railway.

Method: Sources said that they decided to maintain records of trespassing deaths figure out how to better prevent it. Since last year, Western Railway has been sending officials to accident spots, where photographs are clicked and details of the case are noted down.

Average number of deaths: The Railway Protection Force started recording the number of deaths late last year. The officials will first need to collect a year’s worth of statistics to be able to calculate a daily average.

The number of trespassing deaths on WR between January and April

The number of trespassing deaths on WR between January and April

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