Mumbai: Despite a plethora of efforts to curb deaths on railway tracks owing to the dangerous practice of trespassing, 1,118 trespassers were killed in 2022 in the suburban section of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). As per data provided by the Government Railway Police, the number of deaths was almost the same as 2021 (1,114).
However, deaths due to falling off moving trains significantly rose last year in comparison to the previous year. While 700 died in falling accidents in 2022, 277 deaths were reported. In 2019, 611 such deaths were reported, while in 2020 (during the Covid lockdown and with no trains for most part of the year) 177 deaths were reported. Last year, the total number of train-related deaths were 2,507.
Max cases in Thane
Vis-à-vis the trespassing deaths, maximum number (127) in 2022 was reported in Thane between Mulund and Mumbra, followed by 101 in the Kurla GRP jurisdiction, and similarly 99 trespassers were killed between Kalyan-Kasara and Badlapur section of the Central Railway.
On the Western line, the Borivali section witnessed maximum trespassing deaths(140) in 2022, followed by102 in the Vasai section – Vasai-Nalasopara and Virar areas.
When contacted, a WR’s chief public relation officer said that they have a ‘zero death’ mission and therefore commissioned 15 new foot overbridges in 2020-21 and 12 new ones in 2021-22. In 2020-21, seven were built and eight were constructed in 2021-22. Also, 17 new escalators were commissioned in 2021-22 and 10 new lifts were commissioned in 2021-22.
73 trespassing locations identified
During an earlier joint survey by the Railway Protection Force, the GRP and the engineering department, 73 trespassing locations were identified, of which 66 have been shut permanently and seven are in progress. A fresh joint survey was conducted from Sept 9-19 last year, 205 trespassing locations were identified and action is underway to plug these spots.
Trespassing-related accidents hit train operations badly as commuters get delayed when the authorities are attending to victims. This leads to bunching of trains, and the resultant delays lead to overcrowding. Sources said most trespassing cases occur near railway platforms, yards, peripheries and at level crossings. A senior official said that densely populated residential colonies and slums along the tracks have also become a major headache.
An official said, “We are trying our best to control overcrowding and punish the offenders but it can’t be successful without active participation of passengers. People must avoid footboard travel and also report if anyone blocks the doors.”
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