Railway drive reduces track deaths in Mumbai

The number of fatal accidents on the Mumbai suburban railway network tracks has dropped by 493 in past two years. The fall in figures — from 2,603 in 2007 to 2,110 in 2009 — is attributed to the construction of concrete walls on both sides of the tracks by the railway administration.

In 2009, tracks in Kurla witnessed 259 fatalities (549 in 2007), Thane witnessed 197 (334), Borivli 284 (471) Kalyan 205 (347), and Vasai 180 (318), revealed a railway police officer.

TA Chavan, Mumbai railway police commissioner, said, “The railway administration has started constructing concrete walls on both sides of the tracks on a war-footing for the past two-and-a-half years to prevent people from trespassing.”

“We have carried out a sustained drive against trespassers since July 2004. We collected over Rs75.76 lakh as fine from 25,999 trespassers in 2009. Besides, 196 people were jailed. Our aim is not only to collect the fine, but also to save precious lives,” pointed out a senior RPF (Railway Protection Force) officer. He added that awareness programmes have been held at various stations to pass on the safety messages to commuters.

The WR started ‘Anmol Jeevan’ in February 2009. Under this drive, it conducted sessions in various schools in the western suburbs for two months to educate parents via their children about the hazards of crossing railway tracks.

“Two employees from the public relations department, with the help of NCC and NSS students, conducted 20-minute sessions that include lectures, displaying educational posters and statistics of deaths and injuries due to mishaps on tracks,” said CNK David, public relations officer (PRO) of Western Railway. He added that in a drive against the trespassers in 2009, the RPF had collected over Rs55.29 lakh as fine from 18,244 people. Besides, 414 people were jailed.

Srinivas Mudgerikar, chief PRO of Central Railway, said, “We have been constructing boundary walls on the both sides of the railway tracks for the past two and half years to block illegal entries and prevent people from trespassing. The boundary walls are seven-feet high and one-foot wide. More than 80% work of these walls has been completed.”

Mudgerikar also said that CR has been giving advertisements in various English and vernacular newspapers frequently narrating the hazards of crossing railway tracks.