India - Media campaign in move reduce rail crossing deaths
The Indian railways administration has begun a media campaign to heighten the awareness of road users of the potential hazards of using railway crossings. This is the first of a series of measures being implemented in an attempt to reduce the death toll at India's many level (grade) crossings.
The various railway divisions have begun an assessment of all crossings in their areas in order to devise strategies to avert mishaps.
Twelve rail crossing accidents have been recorded in recent weeks. In one of these, 20 people were killed when their bus collided with a train on a gated crossing near Karur. At an unmanned crossing at Udhayandahalli, four people were killed when a tractor and an express train were in collision. Most recently, a minibus was struck by a train as it crossed an unmanned crossing near Mawli. Twenty seven passengers on the bus died.
Such statistics suggest that there is some urgency to the situation. However, this does not seem have been perceived by all sectors of the railway administration. Following the Karur accident, chains served as temporary gates for two weeks before being replaced with a proper barrier.
At a safety seminar held last year it was suggested that a road overbridge should be provided here in view of the volume of traffic using the crossing. However, it can be seen that inter-organisational disputes between the Railways and the Highways department and inter-departmental wranglings between the operating, engineering and signalling departments of the railways serve to hinder progress.
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