15,000 die each year crossing rail tracks in India

NEW DELHI - A government safety panel says about 15,000 people are killed each year while crossing the tracks in India’s mammoth railway network, and that more bridges and overpasses should be urgently built.

By (AP)

Published: Tue 21 Feb 2012, 6:40 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 10:56 AM

Most of the deaths occur at unmanned railroad crossings, the panel said in a report. About 6,000 people die on Mumbai’s crowded suburban rail network alone, it said.

Another 1,000 people die when they fall from crowded coaches, when trains collide or coaches derail, it said.

The High Level Safety Review Committee was set up by the government in September after a spate of train accidents on the world’s fourth-largest rail network. Around 20 million people travel on the nearly 40,000-mile (64,000-kilometer) system each day.

The report, released over the weekend, called on the government to urgently replace all railroad crossings with bridges or overpasses at an estimated cost of 500 billion rupees ($10 billion) over the next five years.

“No civilized society can accept such a massacre on their railway system,” the report said, referring to the crossing deaths.

The committee acknowledged that previous recommendations from earlier rail safety panels had been ignored.

The committee, headed by Anil Kakodkar, a leading scientist, blamed railway authorities for the “grim picture,” saying there were lax safety standards and poor management.

It said local managers are not given adequate power to make crucial decisions and that safety regulations are also breached because of severe manpower shortages.

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