252 died in track accidents in 2015 Thane court acquits woman in Kalwa couple’s death case
BLAME GAME Railways blame residents for flouting rules, commuters cite lack of infrastructure
While residents of Navi Mumbai blame the railway department of not taking adequate measures for safety of the commuters in the city, the railway department, on the other hand, hold the commuters responsible for not following the given guidelines properly.
This blame game, however, has not helped reduce the number of railway accidents in the satellite city.
According to railway sources, as many as 252 people died in the satellite city while crossing railway tracks in 2015 as opposed to 205 deaths registered in 2014.
Last year, the Panvel GRP registered 71 fatal accidents against 66 cases registered in 2014. Likewise the Vashi GRP registered 181 fatal accidents in 2015 as opposed to 139 cases registered in 2014.
“We understand that most of the accidents take place because of the carelessness of the victims. But what the railway department is doing for the safety of the commuters? You can’t see any wall or barricade along the tracks anywhere in Navi Mumbai like the commuters have in Mumbai,” said Rakesh Poojari, 37, a resident of Kharghar.
“Although accidents take place frequently in the city, most of the railway stations do not have even basic medical facilities or first aid kits. There is just one ambulance at Vashi and Nerul station,” he added.
The railway officials however say that many people die because of their own mistake. “Normally people want ‘short cuts’ to reach the platforms or other side of the tracks. For example, 55- 60 accidents take place every year between the Belapur tunnel and the flyover that goes towards Uran. The areas near Agroli village and Konkan Bhavan also see frequent accidents. Most of the accidents take place at night when people face problems in realizing the movement of the trains,” said an official from Belapur station.
Several students of the local colleges in Khandeshwar cross the tracks wearing earphones. The residents of Chhota Khanda and Mota Khanda located on each side of the tracks also travel putting their lives at risk and thus met with the accidents.
Hundreds of slum dwellers have encroached on railway land at Turbhe and are staying there constructing shanties. These people and their children frequently met with accidents as they live just a few meters from the tracks.
A railway official of Vashi station on condition of anonymity said, “Shortage of staff mem- ber at the railway stations is also another aspect that has to be considered in this regard. We do not even have people to carry victims of train accidents. Police constables and home guards have to take the body out and hence the victims don’t get medical services at the right time.”
The government railway police ( GRP) however, said that they are taking all possible efforts to reduce the number of accidents.
Nitin Bobade, senior police inspector of Vashi GRP said, “It is very easy to blame the police for the accidents. But little can be done when people don’t think about their own lives. We along with RPF (Railway Protection Force) officials are regularly patrolling along the tracks and taking legal action against people who are violating the rules.”
“For creating awareness among the commuters, we are distributing pamphlets, holding awareness camps and meetings at schools and colleges. We are also putting banners and posters and conducting street plays at the public places,” he added.
A shopkeeper has been acquitted by the district court of the charges of abetting suicide of a couple on the basis of the dying declaration given to the police by the victims prior to their death.
Additional sessions judge PR Kadam on Friday passed the judgment. According to the prosecution, the accused Rashmi Bothra had given Arvind Rai the contract for carrying out electrical work in her shop in Kalwa locality here. After the man completed the work, the woman found out that the material procured by him was in excess of what was actually used by him, the prosecution said.
As per the accused, the labourer had bought material worth Rs82,103 from the specified electric shop, but the material put to use in the work was of a lesser amount. The woman reportedly started badgering him to return the difference in the two sums of money.
Fed up by the constant harassment, the labourer and his wife Seema Rai allegedly consumed rat poison, following which they died on November 26, 2011, the prosecution alleged.
In their dying declaration given to the police, the duo said they had drunk something thinking it was ‘sharbat’ (soft drink).
However, a suicide note was recovered from the duo after that, in which the victims held the accused responsible for their taking the extreme step, he said.
A case was subsequently filed under section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the IPC in February, 2012. In the trial, it emerged that the victims’ dying declaration was obtained much before the couple’s purported suicide note was found, he said.
The deposition of the doctor who was present at the time of the declaration was taken into account, to arrive at the conclusion that the accused had no involvement in the duo’s death.
According to the respondent’s counsel, it was established that the couple did not commit suicide and that there was no question of any harassment. Observing that the prosecution failed to prove their charges, the accused was acquitted of all charges on the basis of the veracity of the dying declaration, and not of the suicide note.