Tag Archives: India

Delhi, India: INR one trillion over five years for safety

8 Feb

The end of a separate railways budget after 93 years appears to be working in favour of the railways. Central Government’s allocation for railways in 2017-2018 is INR 1.3 trillion, an increase of INR 1.4 billion over the comparable 2016-2017 budget.

Included within the allocated funds is a ring-fenced INR one trillion spread over five years for safety improvements and includes delivery of the government’s pledge to eliminate all unmanned level crossings by 2019.

India: Accidents at unauthorised level crossings

10 May

India’s North East Frontier Railway has asserted that accidents on unauthorised level crossings are a major safety issue. In the latest fatal accident  near Rajabari in Assam one person was killed and another critically injured when the motorcycle on which they were travelling was hit by a train at about 09.15am on May 9th, 2016. Reports suggest that for reasons unknown the motorcycle stopped or was stopped straddling the tracks.

The Rajabari area is afflicted with a large number of unauthorised level crossings, including some constructed by municipalities where the growth of urban settlements has led to building in areas where the only viable access is via a level crossing. While the level crossings in question are unauthorised, this doesn’t mean they are unknown to the railway authorities.

While a policy that blocks the construction of new authorised level crossings is laudable, to allow the proliferation of unauthorised crossings for reasons associated with bureaucracy and public sector budgets not able to stand the costs of grade separating new road-rail interfaces is foolhardy. Worse still is the attitude that the railway is not responsible for any accident which takes place if a person crosses illegally is a case of burying the head in sand. This is an issue that requires the public sector to develop a strategy for addresssing the issues that lead to the long-term existance of unathorised level crossings.

 

 

 

Anantapur, India: Six killed in crossing collision, renewed call for elimination

8 Sep

Six people lost their lives when a truck collided with a train on a manned level crossing in Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh. The accident which occurred before dawn on August 24th has led to renewed calls for the elimination of all level crossings in India. The accident has also led to the growing impatience of communities with the slow pace of elimination. The removal of level crossings requires funding from other than the railway as the benefits to the wider community are significant. However, state governments and roads authorities are causing progress to be slowed as they do not share the railway view that level crossing elimination is a very high priority use of scarce resources.

India: 12,330 grade-separations on the way

19 Aug

India’s Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha announced on August 17th, 2015 that 12,330 grade separations would be constructed to replace level crossings and reduce risk arising at them. Many of the level crossings are presently unmanned. The costs of these works would be shared equally by the Railway Ministry and the National Highways Administration.

Agra, India: Level crossing death statistics show true scale of lives lost

3 Aug

Statistics have been obtained by the Times of India showing that the majority of level crossing deaths in Uttar Pradesh occur in the railway’s Agra Division Of the 370 deaths in 2014 at mostly unmanned level crossings in the state, 64% of death cases were reported from the Agra division. Data reveals the 235 deaths occurred at Agra division’s level crossings last year, and 70 have been killed in 2015 to date.

In the Agra division, 502 people reportedly died in railway accidents last year, while the toll has touched 205 this year so far. Police data also revealed that 344 bodies of people who died last year on railway tracks have not been identified. This year 94 bodies have not been identified.

India: Solar energy at 2,000 level crossings across the country

15 Jul

indian Railways is to tender the first phase of a planned 1,000 megawatt solar power project. A key part of the programme is the provision of a total of 1.3 megawatt of solar panels at 2,000 level crossings. This is seen as the economic solution for delivering power in rural and remote areas without access to the electricity grid and a better alternative to diesel generators as used at some of the level crossings to benefit from the solar power programme.

Coimbatore, India: Teachers help pupils to cross the line

15 Jul

Teachers at the Irugur Government Higher Secondary School have taken on the added role of a level crossing attendant at a de facto unauthorised level crossing. Four teachers aim to beat the pupils to the railway when school finishes for the day so they can tell pupils when it is safe for them to cross the railway.

Why are teachers taking charge? Because the manned level crossing near the school was eliminated at the turn of the year without the promised replacement subway being provided. Indeed on this front, no completion date is available as work on-site has yet to begin. Meanwhile, Indian Railways’ maintains the students should trek 1.5km where there is a pedestrian bridge

While the teacher-supervised unauthorised, therefore trespass, route across the railway is considered more practicable than the alternative. This approach also has the support of the wider community until such time that the promised subway is provided at some unknown time in the future.