Chennai: As many as 6,292 people have lost their lives between January 2014 and June 2017 after being hit by trains, according to a recent data revealed by the Open Government Data (OGD) Platform India.
On 19 October, a train mowed down 61 people as they were watching an effigy of Ravana being burnt for Dussehra while standing on the railway tracks near Amritsar.
This horrific accident has led to widespread criticism against railways on its approach to safety, and questions are being raised whether measures are being taken to prevent such unfortunate events.
Most of the deaths on railway tracks happen when people violate the safety and cautionary instructions. There are also reports of death that happened when people use mobile phones or any other electronic gadgets while crossing tracks instead of using a foot overbridge.
According to a Southern Railway senior official, crossing railway tracks is a punishable offence, yet many don’t take it seriously. “Trespassing a railway track is a punishable offence under section 147 of the Indian Railways Act,” he said.
“Penalty of imprisonment is up to six months and / or fine up to Rs 1,000,” he added.
Throughout the year, several deaths are also reported at unmanned level-crossings as they are often crossed carelessly by people. The Railway Board had instructed all its divisions to take steps to curb such accidents.
Southern Railway, for its part, has addressed the issue and declared that it has become unmanned level-crossing-free zone last month. According to railway sources, it was done by constructing subways and also creating diversions adjacent to unmanned level-crossings.
Year – No. of people killed
2104 – 1,620
2015 – 1,785
2016 – 1,863
2017 (up to June) – 1,024