Railways to take action against track trespassing

he railway administration has appealed to passengers to make use of foot over bridges to cross rail tracks to avoid any mishaps. Officials have said that the administration was initiating strict action against trespassing on tracks.

Railway officials said, “As many as 140 people died in Pune division while crossing the tracks in an illegal manner, between January 1 and April 30. About 8 were seriously injured. The number of mishaps increased this year, as compared to previous years. About 117 people had died in 2012 during the same period.”

Officials said that many steps have been initiated to create awareness among the passengers and visitors at the stations. The staff deployed at stations, has been making continuous announcements to make use of foot over bridges, instead of crossing tracks, which is a dangerous and illegal act.

The officials said that footbridges have been constructed at all prominent stations, in fact, some stations have two or more bridges depending on passenger load.

An official at the Pune railway station said that one additional bridge was being installed between platform number one, two and three at the Daund end to assist passengers entering from the main gate to reach platforms two and three. Work on this bridge was expected to begin by next month, said the official.


Pvt investors to be roped in for projects to protect rly properties

In a first of its kind initiative, the Northern Railway is exploring idea to allow private investment in projects to protect its properties. The Northern Railway is planning to construct walls along the railway tracks laid in its jurisdiction to prevent trespassing and accidents. The project would come up on PPP model. The project is aimed at protecting the railway properties from the miscreants apart from checking fatal accidents like the cases of run overs.

The Railways have issued Expression of Interest, inviting private players to construct walls on either sides of the rail tracks between Nizamuddin and Palwal railway stations. The investors, in turn, will be able to earn revenue by advertising on the walls. The project will start on a trial basis on the Nizamuddin-Palwal stretch. The length of rail tracks between the two stations is around 50 kms. With the cost of constructing walls on both the sides of rail tracks estimated to be around `2 crore per km, the entire project would cost `100 crore. “However, facing financial crunch to complete several infrastructural projects, the railways decided to rope in private companies,” said a senior official.

Officials said considering the number of accidents on Nizamuddin-Palwal stretch and the cases of encroachment on the railways’ land, this stretch has been identified for the pilot project. This stretch also witnesses a lot of trespassing, both by the people and cattle. “Similar projects would be initiated in other stretches of the division, once the pilot project is successful,” they said. The tendering process for the project will start soon after the interested parties submit their plan of action accepting the terms and conditions.

As per the expression of interest issued, the contractors would be required to construct a 2.5 metre high wall on both the sides, with additional fencing of the wall with metallic wires, officials said. The investor, in return would be allowed to earn revenue by allowing advertisement on the walls as well as erecting 1.2 metre high poles on the walls for advertisement. “The advertisement rights would be given for a certain number of years. Since Railway would continue to retain the ownership of the land on which the wall would come up, the advertisement rights would be given to other companies by open bidding after the contract of the builder ceased. It would generate extra revenue for the railways,” northern railway officials said.

Notably, measures like prosecuting trespassers by the railway authorities under section 147 of the Railway Act – which invites cash penalty, or imprisonment or both – has failed to yield result as a total of 823 people have lost their lives in accidents on rail tracks till September this year in the Delhi area itself. While a total of 1,485 people died on rail tracks in the area last year, 1,634 people died in 2010. Similarly, the fatal accident numbers stood at 1,555 in 2009.


Home guards to shield rail tracks

Rail authorities in Tatanagar have sent a proposal to the state home department seeking deployment of home guards on tracks to bolster security under Ranchi and Chakradharpur divisions, which have been witness to acts of sabotage by Naxalites.
The proposal aims to cover the network of tracks falling under the jurisdiction of the superintendent of railway police in Tatanagar, Mritunjay Kishore, under whose initiative the step has been taken.
He said the authorities were hopeful that the state department would soon accept the proposal.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Kishore pointed out that home guards were being posted to protect railway tracks in a few states already, including neighbouring Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, both affected by left-wing extremism.

“The idea for engaging home guards for protection of railway tracks was taken from Odisha. As various parts of our region are battling the Naxalite problem, we have also decided to follow the same model,” said the superintendent.

Kishore said the proposal ‘ sent to the home department as well as the South Eastern Railway authorities ‘ was discussed during two meetings between rail officials at Chakradharpur earlier this month.

“The home department in Odisha bears the responsibility of making payments of salary and establishment costs for engaging home guards. We expect that the home department in Jharkhand will follow suit,” he added.

Kishore said the home guards guarding the tracks would not be armed, but equipped with communication gadgets such as wireless sets and walkie-talkies to alert the railway police and officials on spotting anything dubious.

A number of stations falling under Chakradharpur and Ranchi divisions are considered sensitive in view of Naxalite presence.
Under Chakradharpur, Posaita, Manoharpur and Galudih-Ghatshila sections have witnessed a number of sabotages engineered by Naxalites.
Similarly Lohardaga, Gumla, Simdega, Khunti and Seraikela-Kharsawan are all Naxalite-hit districts falling under the Ranchi division.
When asked, Kishore said the authorities were yet to determine the number of guards to be posted, adding it would be decided after a go-ahead.
Home guards are recruited by the home department on temporary basis and paid wages for providing assistance to the police in maintaining law and order.