The city’s lifeline continues to claim lives at nearly the same pace as seen a few years ago; 1,668 have died till June, with Kalyan recording the most deaths, and Kurla and Thane close at its heels
Despite the authorities’ efforts to curb deaths on tracks, the city’s railway system continues to claim lives at a constant rate. As per data with the Government Railway Police (GRP), nine people have died on the railway tracks every day this year.
In the first six months of 2015 (January to June), 1,668 people have lost their lives 1,484 men, 183 women and one other. This works out to nine deaths a day, nearly the same rate as last year’s, when 3,429 people died on the railway tracks.
Kalyan, Kurla, Thane, Borivli, and Vasai are the railway stations, which have recorded the most fatalities near them. These people were found dead after falling from a train, committing suicide, or having been pushed by someone.
The cops managed to trace the family members of 1,131 victims, but failed to reach the family members of 537 people and had to, hence, dispose of the bodies. “The toughest job in the railways is to trace the family members of the deceased. For this purpose, we have launched our website Shodh.
Around 30 per cent of victims’ bodies have to be disposed of by the cops; the families approach much later or the bodies remain unclaimed,” said Rupali Ambure, deputy commissioner of police, GRP, Central Railway.
She further added, “We have been creating awareness among commuters to not cross tracks, not travel on footboards, and to take precautions while travelling. We have also written to railways to close all unauthorised entry points that bring one to railway tracks,” said Ambure. 1,679 people were injured this year on the railway tracks.
“Most of the deaths on tracks occur at stations like Kalyan where three lines come together the Badlapur line, Kasara line, and also the Konkan line. Many people board trains here and there are several access points for people to get onto the tracks.
One needs to build big walls to stop people from walking on tracks. People also fall off the footboard when trains are overcrowded,” said a police officer from the GRP, adding that Kurla and Thane, too, have a similar scenario, with the Central Main and Harbour line and Central Main and Trans Harbour line coming together respectively.
Railway activist Sameer Zaveri, who was also a railway victim once, said overcrowding is the biggest problem at hand. “People buy tickets but still have to stand on footboards. There are no safety measures for them. Moreover the High Court has asked the railways to build fences near the tracks to prevent people from entering, but the railways don’t do anything,” he said.
There are also many slum pockets around stations like Borivli, Kalyan, and Thane junction and some victims are from these shanties. Many people alight from trains for the first time in the city and fail to understand what to do, and end up being victims of the railways.
In 2014, around 3,429 people died on tracks, with 851 deaths and serious injuries in Kalyan, 681 in Kurla and 665 in Thane. In 2013, 3,513 people died on tracks, with 815 deaths and serious injuries in Kalyan, 747 in Kurla and 644 in Thane.