As trains get back on track, Ludhiana sees a rise in railway deaths

As per the data provided by railway officials, as many as 190 persons have lost their lives on railway tracks in Ludhiana till October 20 this year
Commuters crossing from railway lines near railway station in Ludhiana on Sunday. (Harsimar Pal Singh/HT)
Commuters crossing from railway lines near railway station in Ludhiana on Sunday. (Harsimar Pal Singh/HT)
Published on Oct 25, 2021 02:10 AM IST
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ByNikhil Sharma, Ludhiana

With 200 of the total 228 trains starting or passing through Ludhiana railway station getting back on track amid the easing of Covid restrictions, the number of deaths on tracks, especially suicides, is also beginning to see a rise in Ludhiana.

As per the data provided by railway officials, as many as 190 persons have lost their lives on railway tracks in Ludhiana till October 20 this year. Last year, when passenger trains were suspended owing to the pandemic outbreak, the figure stood at 169. According to officials most of these accidents happened with goods trains that were operational amid Covid.

In 2019, the number of deaths on tracks was 348, which is more than double the figure recorded in 2020.

In all three years, the maximum deaths were caused by railway accidents (see box). In 2019, the second common cause was natural deaths. In 2020 and 2021, suicides accounted for the second common reason for deaths on tracks. While in 2020, the number of railway suicides stood at 35, the mark has already been breached this year in just 10 months.

In January this year, a single suicide was reported on the railway tracks in Ludhiana while in February, the figure shot up to eight and later went down to three in March.

As normalcy was restored in April, the month recorded four deaths by suicide, followed by two in May, four in June, six in July, nine in August, three in September and five in the first 20 days of October.

With regards to railway accidents, Ludhiana has seen a total of 124 deaths till October 20, most of it occurring when people were crossing the tracks.

Inspector Jaskaran Singh, Government Railway Police, Ludhiana, said that most of the railway accident victims are migrant labourers. “These migrants work in factories near the station and sometimes relieve themselves on the tracks, which puts them at risk of being run over by a train. Other than this, people tend to cross the tracks with earphones plugged in, which also lead to accidents. Now most of the trains are electrical and don’t make noise like the diesel ones which used to ply earlier. With earphones plugged in, most are not able to hear the sound of the train and end up losing their lives while crossing the tracks,” said Jaskaran.

Another senior official said that the number of suicides has also increased due to the immense mental strain brought about by the pandemic. “A lot of people are losing their jobs and facing financial difficulties. This pushes them over the edge and compels them to take the extreme step,” said the official.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021