Mumbai :Train Tragedies Preventable

More than 23K killed, but city still crosses tracks

Trespassing Caused Most Fatalities On Railway Tracks Since 2002,

Overcrowding A Close Second

Manthan K Mehta & Somit Sen | TNN

             Deaths due to rail and road accidents in the city are much higher than those caused by terror attacks.

      A query filed under the Right to Information (RTI) act has revealed that the death toll on rail tracks hovers around 3,700 since 2006. But the worst years for railway commuters were 2006 and 2007, during which the number of deaths registered under various circumstances touched 4,029 and 3,997 respectively. Since 2002, stretches falling under Kurla Government Railway Police recorded 3,360 deaths due to trespassing. Likewise, on Western Railway, stretches under Borivli GRP topped the chart with 3,334 deaths.

       The RTI, filed by activist Chetan Kothari, revealed trespassing-related deaths were highest in 2004 in which 2,734 people died, including 1,495 on CR alone. In fact trespassing was the largest killer, causing 23,820 fatalities since 2002.

       Kothari said, “Besides trespassing, the second most common cause of death was falling from a running train.”

       Despite the increase in suburban services, 734 and 675 people died after falling from trains on the suburban network in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Kothari said, “In 2010, 519 people died after falling from trains on CR. The figure was only marginally low in 2011, when 468 deaths recorded on CR.”

        On WR, these types of deaths are registered primarily in crowded stretches of Borivli GRP, which includes stations from Dahisar and Goregaon and Vasai GRP whose jurisdiction is between Mira Road and Virar.

An analysis of figures highlighting deaths due to falling down from trains reveals that most of these incidents occurred in Borivli and Vasai GRP jurisdictions, where on average 50-60 people died per year. On CR, deaths due to this reason occurred primarily on stretches of Kurla, Kalyan, Dadar and to some extent Thane. Kothari said, “From 2010 to November 2011, a total of 223 people died due to falling from trains in stretches under Kurla GRP.”

      Deaths after being hit by a pole reduced drastically in 10 years. Kothari said, “In 2002, 96 people died after dashing against a pole from a moving train. This figure has fallen to 19 in 2011.” Likewise, deaths due to falling into the gap between the platform and train reduced drastically. “In 2003, 46 people died, this has become single-digit since 2006,” he said.

      Injuries also witnessed an alarming increase. Kothari said, “In 2002, 2,614 people got injured in various circumstances. It crossed 3,500 in 2005 and has remained above 4,000 since 2006.”

       Road accidents too are a cause for concern, experts said. “Mumbai should follow the road discipline of London, New York and Singapore. Here, motorcycle-borne youngsters and those in SUVs break signals with impunity and cause accidents. In foreign cities, there is invisible patrolling through CCTV cameras, which is yet to take off in a big way in Mumbai,” said traffic expert and activist A V Shenoy.

         An RTO official said, “We are conducting a refresher course for driving instructors in Mumbai in the first week of January. Also, we have made driving tests at Andheri RTO stricter.”

      MEASURES TAKEN
FOBs widened, extended and newly built at many suburban stations
Metal dividers provided between platform on WR; CR has invited tenders to install iron railings between CST-Kurla
Level crossing gates closed at Belapur, Vikhroli, Nerul and Sewri
Awareness drives conducted through print and electronic media, street plays and bulk SMSes

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