The railway crossing beneath the Dholewal overbridge may be closed officially, but it is like a normal road for people living nearby.
Residents who travel on foot or via bicycle use this closed railway crossing like any other road and hundreds of them cross it round the clock. The number of trespassers has increased from the time when the Dholewal overbridge was closed by the municipal corporation for repair.
The railway line that passes through Dholewal is the Ludhiana-Delhi line, which is one of the busiest lines and more than 70 trains cross the track daily, and trespassing results in frequent accidents.
A senior citizen, Surinder Kumar, from Chauni Mohalla lost his life while crossing the railway line on Monday. Another incident took place on this track two days back.
Government railway police (GRP) assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Ashok Kumar said, “This line has become a point of accidents these days. We receive complaints of two to three railway accidents per week on this line and it tend to increase during winter, as people continue trespassing the line.”
However, people have their own problem to quote for this shortcut way. Sunita, a resident of the area, said, “We do not have an alternative way. The overbridge is used by vehicles and it is difficult for a pedestrian to go from the bridge. It takes less time crossing the railway line and now it has become our habit.”
On asking a cobbler, Umesh, on how he finds the place suitable for his shop near the railway lines, he replied, “People use these railway lines round the clock. When a train approaches they run and cross the lines and when while running their sandals break, they find me here. This way I am able to earn a good livelihood.”
Railway lines in city claim one life daily
The railway lines in the city claimed almost one life daily on the tracks.
The reason may be trespassing, suicides, accidents or anything. This year 349 people had lost their lives on the tracks of Ludhiana.
GRP police station head munshi Surjit Kumar said, “People might have committed suicides or maybe it was an accident due to trespassing, but the case registered against them is under section 174 of the CrPC.”
In December, 17 people had lost their lives on the tracks till December 22.
SP Singh Bhatia, divisional traffic manager (DTM) Ferozepur division northern railway, said, “Trespassing is a crime and people should understand that life is more important than taking a shortcut. We have already closed the pass by installing proper barriers. There is an overbridge and people should use that.”
984 challaned for trespassing
Railway police force (RPF) Ludhiana has challaned 984 persons for trespassing under section 147 of the Indian Railways Act till now this year.
Under section of 147 of Indian Railways Act, trespassing across railway tracks is a punishable offence with a penalty of imprisonment up to six months and or a fine up to Rs 1,000.
RPF Ludhiana sub-inspector Chamkaur Singh said, “We keep organising drive against trespassing. We had challaned 937 persons till November and 47 people have been challaned from December 1 to 22.”