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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Audit identifies 174 accident spots on Mumbai’s railway tracks

Majority of the dangerous spots are on the central line; around 1,500 commuters have died crossing tracks from January to August

mumbai Updated: Nov 30, 2017 11:49 IST
Megha Sood
Megha Sood
Hindustan Times
More than 1,500 people have been killed while crossing the tracks (trespassing) till August this year.
More than 1,500 people have been killed while crossing the tracks (trespassing) till August this year.(HT FILE)

The city’s railway lines have 174 chronic accident spots, where commuters die crossing the tracks, according to government railway police’s audit for 2016. Of the spots, 133 are on the central railway (CR), while 41 are on the western line (WR).

More than 1,500 people have been killed while crossing the tracks (trespassing) till August this year. According to the statistics obtained through a right to information plea filed by activist Sameer Jhaveri, 3,202 people died, while 3,363 were injured on the railway tracks in 2016. The number of deaths was 3,304, while injured was 3,349 in 2015.

The GRP’s audit over the past two years shows that at least 10 people die on the railway tracks daily, of which six are because of trespassing. The audit for 2016 states many lives could have been saved by providing better infrastructure. “We have studied the causes of the fatalities and found many shortcomings in the infrastructure of railway stations and platforms,” said Niket Kaushik, commissioner of GRP.

Of the 174, maximum chronic spots are Kurla (23), followed by Kalyan (21). The report states absence of dividers between tracks, encroachments, illegal entry-exit points, insufficient foot overbridges and absence of east-west connectivity as the main causes.

A case in point could be this year’s five deaths on the tracks between Sandhurst Road and Byculla. Activists say people are forced to cross the tracks along the stretch, thanks to the broken boundary wall and poor state of the foot overbridge (FOB).

Three commuters died while crossing the tracks between Currey Road and Parel in 2017. The problem here is the unauthorised entry and exit points and lack of fencing. A cement wall between Dadar and Matunga could have prevented the nine deaths. The FOB also needs a shed.

Barricades, FOB can help prevent track-crossing: GRP

Putting up barricades and building foot overbridges (FOBs) can help save a lot of lives that are lost owing to crossing the tracks, states the government railway police’s (GRP) audit for 2016.

While the railways have tried a number of measures such as forming human chains, distributing roses to offenders, constant announcements and banners to create awareness, very few understand the risk involved.

The GRP audit states that providing dividers between tracks, clearing encroachment and boosting east-west connectivity can improve matters. “FOBs get crowded when the platform where a train is scheduled to arrive is changed at the last minute. Not wanting to miss the train or get stuck in the chaos, most cross the tracks,” said Niket Kaushik, GRP commissioner.

In 2010, the central railway (CR) used behavioural architecture – showing images of people who have suffered because of trespassing. The idea was the consequences should deter trespassers. “Warning signs are usually ignored by a commuter who is always in a hurry,” said an officer, adding more stringent measures should be taken.

Although there is patrolling, manning illegal entry and exit points is tough. “Staff shortage prevents the GRP and RPF from finding every trespasser,” said a GRP official.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 11:49 IST