Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Caught between life and death

25th September 2012 09:23 AM
In the wake of the increasing number of accidents taking place at unmanned level crossings, residents’ associations in the city and the railway passengers have demanded the authorities to begin analysis of all railwayrelated safety issues.
 According to them, though there are no dangerous unmanned level crossings here, a few damaged and unscientific railway gates are causing nightmares.
 Th e c r o s s i n g a t Mattancherry is one of the city’s crowded but neglected level crossings.
 Set up a few decades ago, the level crossing at Mattanchery is one of the very few manually-operated ones in the state.
 Without maintenance, the gate is fast becoming accident prone.
 “Years of neglect has resulted in the rusting of the gates which are operated by women.
 Till recently, it had not posed any danger.
 However, in the past six months the sudden increase in the freight traffic through the route has led to safety problems.
 The gate should be replaced with an RoB or a modernised one,” said a railway staff.
 Another crossing which poses danger is the one near the Amritha Institute of Medical Sciences at Ponnekkara.
 “At least one or two people die every month here.
 There is no way to cross it other than to use the tracks.
 This calls for the immediate need of setting up oan RoB in the region,” said K A Francis, treasurer of the Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council (EDRAAC).
 Atlantis level crossing gate also features in the mostdangerous list.
 “There is an unscientific distance between the gates at the Atlantis crossing.
 Usually, one or two vehicles get stuck here after the railway staff find it impossible to monitor all the vehicles passing through the area.
 We have urged the railway authorities to give immediate sanction to bring down the distance between the two gates,” said SRMU president P Unnikrishnan.
 There are demands for Railway Overbridges at Pachalam and Palluruthy.
 Meanwhile, area manager P L Ashok Kumar said safety campaigns will be launched soon.

Pay Heed to Signals:
Railways Though a slew of safety measures have been launched across the state, most of them are unaware of the perils at the level crossings.
 A moment’s haste and carelessness are the reasons behind most of the accidents,” said Ernakulam Area Manager P L Ashok Kumar.
 “There are three signals placed prior to the crossing.
 The first is the prewarning, second tells the person to be careful and the third signal informs the person about the situation.
 We have set up bumps at all these locations.
 We request the public to pay heed to it,” he added.


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