Mumbai (The Hindu): A study by the JJ School of Architecture found that most people who die on tracks have a habit of walking along the rails.
The Central Railway in Mumbai has been able to save an average of five lives a month, after it launched a special programme last year to prevent people dying on the tracks.
Mumbai’s railway tracks are witness to an annual carnage. In 2015, the death toll was 3,304 while 3,349 persons were injured. say official data.
For the first eight months of 2016, the number of deaths on Central Railway local tracks stood at 1,414 (176.75 deaths per month on an average) as compared to 2,187 deaths in the previous year on this line – or, 182 deaths per month.
Similarly, the number of injured people plummeted by 23 per month. Until August this year, 1,221 people were injured –152 per month, as compared to 2,100 last year.
Central Railway General Manager, Akhil Agrawal, on Thursday said the reduction “may not be substantial, but represents a beginning to tackle an alarming concern.” Over 80 lakh people travel by suburban trains in the financial capital every day.
The Railway increased the number of 12 car trains as against 9 car trains, allowing commuters stay inside carriages rather than hang out at the risk of falling off.
Boundary walls and barricades curbed trespassing, and escalators at stations cut walking across tracks. Railway analysis points to 55 per cent of deaths happening due to trespassing at stations and on tracks between stations.
Last month, the Minister of State for Railways, Rajen Gohain told the Lok Sabha that the Railways have to use several novel methods in Mumbai to keep people off the tracks: scaring away potential tresspassers using hooters at some locations, prosecuting offenders, making repeated announcements over a public address system and even involving NGOs in an ‘Anmol Jeevan’ awareness programme.
A study by the JJ School of Architecture found that most people who die on tracks have a habit of walking along the rails.
The availability of medical facilities and ambulances at stations is also cited as a factor in cutting the number of deaths. All suburban stations have doctors on duty round the clock to attend to accidents or emergencies.
The suburban section of Central Railway is under pressure in Mumbai as it is over saturated and more people travel on it as compared to the Suburban Western Railway which operates a well maintained track and swanky Bombardier trains.
In the last one year, while the number of Central Suburban rail commuters has increased by 4 per cent, the Western counterpart has seen a decline of one per cent, indicating that more people are moving into central suburbs.
Recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General in its report blamed the Indian Railways for not providing adequate train services, resulting in overcrowding and death of passengers in suburban trains.
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