Monday, February 26, 2018

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT THE HINDU  MADURAI, FEBRUARY 25, 2018 

Neenu Ittyerah.Photo: S. KrishnamoorthyS_Krishnamoorthy 
Intensive outreach programme to sensitise road users

Concerned over a close shave a van full of schoolchildren in Palani had while crossing an unmanned level crossing (LC), the Madurai Division of Southern Railway has initiated an intensive outreach programme to sensitise road users on safe crossing of unmanned LCs.

On February 22, a van driver, carrying schoolchildren, had stopped his vehicle in front of the LC between Palani and Chatrapatti railway stations after he watched a goods train coming towards him. However, he suddenly started the vehicle to cross the LC. Only after getting on to the tracks, he realised that the train had come too close to the van.

“Though he managed to escape narrowly, he got tense and fled abandoning the van on the road,” the Divisional Railway Manager, Neenu Ittyerah, told reporters here on Saturday. The loco-pilot of the goods train had to apply emergency brakes to stop the train to avoid hitting the van. “We are going to take a census of unmanned LCs, through which school vans are being operated and going to contact Principals of those schools to avoid such crossings,” Ms. Neeu said.

In the case of an unavoidable situation, the drivers should take extreme caution while crossing the tracks at unmanned LCs, she said.

Stating that railways was committed to save the lives of people, she said the division had posted rail mitras in all 167 unmanned LCs to counsel road users on safe crossing.

“In a recent incident, a motorcyclist was warned by a rail mitra at Vanchi Maniyachi about passing of track machine. Though he noticed it, he ignored the warning and tried to cross the track, but got hit and sustained head injuries. He subsequently died,” she said.

If the people whose lives are to be saved do not cooperate, they cannot be saved, she said. Ms. Neenu said that the Motor Vehicles Act stipulated that motorists have to stop at unmanned level crossings, look both sides to ensure that no trains are approaching and then proceed.

“Posting of rail mitras is only an add-on service, and he is not an enforcing agency,” she said.

Additional Divisional Railway Managers P.V. Murali Krishna and O.P. Shaw, Senior Divisional Safety Officer P. Balachandran, Senior Divisional Engineer (Coordination) S. Manoharan, and Divisional Operation Manager N.D. Prem Kumar were among those who were present.

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