Thursday, November 6, 2014


City’s seen 2,600 rail deaths in just 9 mths

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Mumbai: More than 2,600 commuters have been killed in railway accidents in Mumbai and its extended suburbs in the first nine months of this year, prompting the GRP to put together an action plan. Nearly 65% of these fatalities were reported on the Central line. Crossing of tracks has turned out to be the biggest killer with Kurla, Thane, Borivli and Vasai reporting the highest number of such deaths. Besides inviting suggestions on how to sensitize commuters, the GRP commissioner has also written to the railways to modify current infrastructure for curbing fatalities. "There are killer gaps between the trains and platforms of some stations, which need to be tackled on a priority basis. I have seen CCTV footage of gaps at Churchgate which is a nodal station," said GRP commissioner Ravinder Singhal. "As automatic doors for coaches may not happen soon, we need an improvement to be made to the existing vertical rod at the entrance of compartments. Commuters often lose their grip on this rod and fall off. I have written to the railways for fitting an intermittent rubber coating on the rods," he added. The highest number of commuters who lost their lives due to falling off trains were at Kurla region this year. Borivli region had maximum instances of deaths from falling into the gap while Kalyan region had the largest number of electrocutions. The GRP plans to compile videos of instances where robbers, perched on railway poles, have struck commuters travelling on footboards of trains, causing them to drop their valuables on the tracks. "The video clips would be shown to commuters to create awareness. If large screens are made available for us at railway stations, we could flash messages urging commuters to not cross tracks. We have already started booking rooftop travellers under IPC provisions as a deterrent," added Singhal. He is yet to receive a response from the railways. Over the past two years, Central Railway sealed off the CST-Thane stretch with boundary walls. Unhindered access, though, is still being faced at other locations. Of the 3,506 accidental deaths reported on railways in 2013, 1,826 were from crossing of tracks. Suggestions to GRP include involvement of students, use of social media and celebrities for awareness, deploying personnel at areas where most deaths have occurred and so on.

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