Track crossing main reason for 146 train deaths in six months
SPREADING AWARENESS Railways says infrastructure not used by commuters at several places
A high-level Shiv Sena delegation led by its deputy leader Vijay Nahata and opposition leader Vijay Chougule and including several corporators and party leaders met municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe on Wednesday to discuss various issues.
The leaders said the commissioner had assured that no action will be taken against existing structures in gaothan areas and that an inquiry is being conducted into the huge escalation of cost of a civic school in Bonkode. The delegation also discussed the issue of ward committee formation which has been granted a stay by the chief minister.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Nahata said, “There is a fear amongst the villagers that their existing structures will be targeted by NMMC following the commissioner’s orders to act against illegal structures. Cidco has already recommended regularization of the structures to the government which is positive on the issue.”
Nahata said, “Mundhe assured us that he will not act against the existing structures. All action is being planned only against the under construction buildings which do not have the requisite building permissions. “
On the ward committee issue, Chougule said, “The commissioner told us that he has sent a request to the government to reject the ward committee formation resolution approved and sent earlier by the general body which the chief minister had stayed after our objection.”
He said, “It was a ploy by the ruling party to have their chairpersons by wrongfully including various wards in the committee. In fact, the government has asked them to submit their say in a month after the stay, which they did not.”
He added, “The commissioner is now free to form the ward committees based on the continuity of the ward locations and in an unbiased manner. It should be done in a couple of months.”
As many as 146 people died either falling from trains or while crossing the railway tracks in Navi Mumbai in the first six months of this year. A total of 132 suffered injuries while traveling in trains in the same period.
According to the officials from the Central Railway (CR), between January and June this year 108 deaths were reported in the area of Vashi GRP alone. Ninety-five were injured while travelling in trains.
As far as the jurisdiction of Panvel GRP is concerned, 38 people died and 37 others were injured during this time.
In 2015, the city witnessed as many as 252 train deaths as opposed to 205 deaths registered in 2014.
“A majority of the accidents in our area took place because of track crossing. First, there are no walls along the railway tracks to prevent people from illegal crossings. Second, the residents (mostly slum dwellers) break the walls and crossing the tracks to reach the other side,” said Pramod Dhawade, senior police inspector of Vashi GRP.
“Many people have the habit of travelling standing on the footboards. Several youngsters are into the habit of sitting on the roofs and in the space between two coaches. When the trains pass through the sharp turns, such people lose their grips and fall down,” he added.
According to Dhawade, performing stunts in moving trains is one of the main reasons behind frequent accidents. “At 180 139 181 108 54 66 38 every station in the city you will find youth performing stunts while boarding or alighting from the trains. Many of them lose control and fall.”
Lack of infrastructure is another reason. “We blame the people for crossing tracks. We don’t realise there is no subway or foot over bridge to reach the 71 other side at several places,” said an official from Panvel GRP.
“Khanda Colony, Belapur and Turbhe are some of the areas that need attention in this regard. The local administrations and the railway department should take some measures in this direction,” he added.
Despite having the infrastructure people do not use them and cross the tracks risking their lives. “We have two swanky subways to enter and to get out of the station premises. In spite of that, people cross the tracks to reach the nearest bus depot or the auto stand,” said Sudarshan Khurana, station manager of Vashi railway station.