There are thousands of Mumbaikars who don’t look before they cross the rail tracks – although it is illegal to do – and end up getting killed or grievously injured. For all those who feel that they can escape the local train; beware there are the railway police force (RPF) who shall be keeping an eye on you. Starting December 9, the RPF of the Central Railway (CR) shall start surprise checks at railway stations and catch hold of people trespassing on tracks.
This is being done, as trespassing or line crossing as it is said in railway parlance kills a large of people every year. Going by the statistics; every day five people die while crossing rail tracks. The number of people getting injured after getting hit by a train is very few with only one person on an average in a day surviving after being involved in trespassing cases.
“We shall be starting the drive of catching people crossing tracks from December 9. It will be surprise one and we shall target all those stations where people cross tracks,” said Amitabh Ojha, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Central Railway. the RPF are presently busy with the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Death anniversary that took place on December 6 and shall go for another day or two as people across the state come to Shivaji Park to pay their respects.
Sources said that they shall be keeping 20 personnel at each station where this drive would begin and that it would be a random selection of station whose name would be decided an evening before. Officials from CR added that they conducted one such drive earlier this week at Thakurli where they caught 84 people in 3 hours who were trespassing and collected a fine of Rs 20000.
The quantum of deaths is visible as in the last 22 months at least 3440 people have died while trespassing on tracks. In the year 2014, there have been 1912 deaths on rail tracks who were crossing the rail lines; off which 1216 people died on CR while the rest on WR. Similarly till October 2015; a good 1528 people died of which again cases on CR is more with 1013 people dying while 515 died on WR.
On December 6, the accident committee on CR had their first meeting. Here the authorities discussed the possibilities of having long and short term measures to keep rail accidents at bay. “We want the local civic corporations to build road over bridges at Diva and Chunabhatti where there are level crossings,” said SK Sood, General Manager, CR. The officials claim that every time the level crossing is opened at these two locations for the vehicles, trains have to halt.
In fact, many of the trains are forced to halt at railway stations and so the trains get crowded. Presently there are three level crossings -- Bandra, Jogeshwari, Goregaon -- on the Western Railway (WR) and five level crossings -- Kurla, Diva, Thakurli, Kalwa and Ambivli on the Main line and one at Chunabhatti on the Harbour line.
On an average, these crossings open at least 40 times a day for a period of 2 minutes or so. The road traffic authorities are allowing vehicular movement even during peak hours due to which at least 75 services are either delayed or cancelled due to level crossings every day on CR.
At the accident committee meeting on WR that was held on December 5, the MPs agreed that the people are angry that only committees are formed but the deaths on tracks continues. The rail authorities want the civic bodies to also fund minor rail projects like leveling platforms and having FOBs and ROBs.