Metro bonanza comes with a rider

Sep 27, 2011, 07:04 IST | Johnlee Abraham

With the BMRCL not installing sliding screen doors at platforms, passengers run the risk of falling onto the powered tracks and getting electrocuted in the process

With the BMRCL not installing sliding screen doors at platforms, passengers run the risk of falling onto the powered tracks and getting electrocuted in the process

The Bangalore Metro will be operational anytime before Diwali, but the happy news comes with a rider for commuters.

For, unlike most mordenised metro services across the globe, the Bangalore metro has not installed platform screen doors, which curbs the chances of suicides and accidental deaths at metro stations.

The Commissioner of Railway Security has instructed the Bangalore
Metro authorities to make proper security arrangements to avoid
mishaps on station premises

The BMRCL did not even include the platform screen doors in its proposal aware of the fact that the Kolkata Metro has witnessed more than 221 attempts to suicide and 111 of them died by jumping onto the electrically charged tracks of the rail system in a year.

Obviously, the project cost of installing sliding doors, which is pegged at around Rs 8 crore per station, must be weighing heavy on the pocket of BMRCL.

According to BMRCL sources, when the total project cost the Bangalore metro is Rs 12,000 crore, it sounds little impractical to Rs 320 crore only on installation of the sliding door thing.
But he added, "If the government allocates funds for the same, the BMRCL won't averse to installing the sliding doors at platforms."

Even the Commissioner for Railway Safety in his report has cautioned that since Bangalore Metro has not opted for platform screens, it should take adequate safety measures.

What's the Danger?
Bangalore Metro rail runs on third rail, a method of providing power to run the rail through the tracks. Due to the presence of an electrified rail makes it extremely fatal if a person accidentally fell into the tracks.

This, however, can be avoided using platform screen doors or the risk minimized by ensuring that the conductor rail is on the side of the track away from the platform.

"Everywhere around the world on all new world-class metro stations, these platform screens are used, thereby many untoward incidences can be avoided," said M N Sreehari, Urban expert.

Metro suicides
The Kolkata Metro, which has seen a spurt of suicides on the Metro Rail tracks, has now come up with a pilot project to implement these screens doors at its stations.

"As per our figures, there have been over 221 incidences of suicide attempts with people jumping onto the electrified tracks and out of which 111 have died," said Protyush Ghosh, spokesperson, Kolkata Metro.

The Kolkata Metro plans to invest around Rs 12 crore at each station for putting up these screens, however,
the project cost would considerably lower in case of new stations.

However, the Bangalore Metro has assured that it has taken all precautions to avoid such incidents. "There will be Metro guards keeping round the clock the vigil at the stations.
Besides that there will be announcements to warn the public. We also have emergency switches right at the station to cut the power supply in the station, if anybody falls on the track," said B L Y Chavan, spokesperson, BMRCL.

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