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Trespassing behind most local train fatalities in Mumbai last year

1,619 of 2,981 deaths on suburban network last year were of people being hit by trains, reveals GRP data

mumbai Updated: Jan 28, 2019 08:07 IST
Megha Sood
Megha Sood
Hindustan Times
GRP,Borivli,Kurla
According to the data, most deaths owing to trespassing — 218 — were at Kalyan railway station, followed by Thane, Kurla and Borivli stations. (HT FILE )

Of the 2,981 deaths on Mumbai’s suburban railway network last year, 1,619 cases were of people hit by trains while crossing tracks, Government Railway Police (GRP) data revealed.

This was followed by 711 people falling to their deaths from running trains.

According to the data, most deaths owing to trespassing — 218 — were at Kalyan railway station, followed by Thane, Kurla and Borivli stations.

The GRP data revealed that although there has been a slight drop in deaths on the 700-km network, down from 3,014 in 2017, more women lost their lives in 2018, with 363 deaths in 2018, up from 300 in 2017.

The statistics also showed 1,007 people died in the last four months of 2018, while 522 people died owing to natural causes in railway premises through the year.

“Trespassing is the main problem. Many commuters jump from one platform to the other just to save 10 seconds, often at the cost of their lives,” said a GRP officer.

An analysis revealed that over the past five years, at least eight to nine people die on the city’s lifeline daily.

“The number of deaths cannot come down until the problems of illegal entry points and crowding are solved,” said Niket Kaushik, commissioner of GRP.

However, according to experts, the main reason for the deaths were the poor implementation of rules by railways, such as clamping down on travelling on the footboard, illegal entry points that facilitate trespassing or reduce crowding .

Case in point: The recommendations made by a 2011 study, undertaken for Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation Limited (MRVC) to decongest suburban trains, have not been adequately implemented.

The study recommended measures, such as introduction of 12- and 15-car rakes, but even this has been inadequate in resolving the issue, as the number of commuters using the suburban network has increased to 8 million from 6.5 million in 2011 in 2018.

Resultantly, a 12-car rake that was originally designed for 2,160 passengers now carries 5,500 passengers.

The increase in train services and population has not been proportionate, experts said.

“If the authorities had constructed boundary walls on both sides of the tracks across the city after the Bombay High Court order in 2005, these trespassing cases would have minimised and there would have been fewer deaths on the tracks,” said Shakil Ahmed Shaikh, a railway activist.

First Published: Jan 27, 2019 23:51 IST