India will build 3,000 km of wall along train tracks to prevent further deaths

India plans to build 3,000 kilometers of wall along its railroads, an attempt to reduce the tens of thousands deaths that occur each year on the railroad tracks.

The Ministry of Railways says it will build a 2.7-meter-high reinforced concrete barrier in residential areas. The project will cost around 2,500 crore, equivalent to 35 million dollars. It is estimated that the new impulse will cover all vulnerable stretches in populated areas.

The Indian Express said the ministry made the decision after 61 people died on the tracks of a train in the state of Punjab during the celebrations of the Hindu festival of Dusshera. Near the place of the tragedy there was a fence but people climbed it and entered by a level crossing to have a better view of the festival.

The incident, which was a broadcast nationwide and widely shared on social media, raised questions about why they were allowed to meet on a working railroad.

According to the Ministry of Railways, 49,800 people died after being hit by trains in the last three years in India, mostly in densely populated suburban areas. According to law, officers treat these deaths as acts of invasion and negligence on the part of road users. Officials have speculated that many of the victims may have been distracted by their cell phones.

Accident in Uttar Pradesh | Photo: AFP

There are around 12,000 trains a day on railways in India, transporting more than 23 million passengers, according to The Guardian.

The rail network ages and does not have sufficient funds. More than 33,700 people died in accidents related to the train in 2015, last year in which national data were published, most of them falling off super-populated trains or being hit on the tracks.

The Railway Safety Commission stipulates that in order to obtain a safety space for train speeds of 160 km/h, the railways must be fenced or walled and therefore the walls along the tracks have become necessary.

West Bengal | Photo: Reuters

According to police information, in the Bombay suburban train network, 18,847 people died between January 2013 and August of this year. The report of the high-level safety review committee, headed by scientist Anil Kakodkar, had said that in the suburban railway area of ​​Bombay, the crossing of roads occurs mainly due to the lack of fences, the absence of a number suitable for pedestrian bridges and the resistance to replacing level crossings by pedestrian bridges.

A 2012 government report described the annual number of deaths on the railroads as a “massacre“, but the Indian government has argued that the figures are proportionally in line with other countries, and that in general they are higher due to the size of the network and the number of passengers.

The railways department had already begun to build more than 1,600 kilometers of concrete barriers, but said the work was delayed by locals who opposed the construction. The material of the walls, like bricks or iron, was also a target of the thieves.


With info from The Guardian & The Indian Expres

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