Railways witnessed 26 accidents 13 deaths, 13 injuries on Tuesday, the highest toll in recent times; most of the victims had either been crossing tracks or fell off the trains
Tuesday, an ordinary day otherwise, was a black day for railway authorities and commuters in the city, with the local trains claiming 13 lives and injuring another 13. While Mumbai is no stranger to death on the tracks, Tuesday’s toll was the highest recorded single-day number in recent times, what with trespassing claiming 10 ever day on an average.
With local trains almost always overcrowded, commuters have been known to fall off mid-journey, leading to several injuries or even death. File pic
According to the Government Railway Police (GRP), most of the 26 victims had either been crossing railway tracks or had fallen from running trains. One of the survivors, 17-year-old Suraj Vishwakarma was heading towards Churchgate, but fell off the train when it began moving out of Lower Parel station.
Like him, many of the other victims were young, with at least five in their 20s, and quite a few in their 30s. GRP Commissioner Ravinder Kumar Singal said, “This is a very serious issue; every day, so many people are dying on tracks, and most of them are young. We are trying to find the reasons for these deaths and also want to request parents to keep watch on their kids when they are out.”
He added that he has been attempting to initiate some positive steps to control the number of deaths on tracks. Railway authorities have been taking precautions and have conducted awareness campaigns to encourage passengers to use foot over-bridges instead of crossing tracks, but it is yet to make an impact.
Moreover, the local trains are almost always overcrowded, with commuters often hanging outside the compartments. The authorities are now testing trains with automatic doors, as a measure against commuters falling off.
“The trains these days are overcrowded and many people are the first-time travellers and don’t understand the techniques for boarding or alighting from the train, leading to accidents,” said Advocate Virendra Pandey, a regular commuter between Borivli and Churchgate.
Preventing such deaths is the need of the hour, as the railways in the city has already experienced several such black days. On November 10 for instance, there were a total of 19 accidents, with 11 injured and eight deaths. Similarly, on November 16, out of 13 accidents, eight led to injuries, while five led to deaths.