March 28, 2012 : The number of deaths reported on railway tracks in the country during 2009, 2010 and 2011 is 41,474. The figure includes deaths occurred in train accidents also.
The number of deaths out of this figure in Gujarat was 3300 whereas the same in Jharkhand was 670. Bharatsinh Solanki, the union minister of state for railways informed rajya sabha other day in response to a question from Parimal Nathwani.
In accordance with the minister’s statement tabled in the House, there were still 17,839 level crossings and 14,896 unmanned level crossings in the country. The state of Gujarat had 1,523 manned level crossings and 2,376 unmanned level crossings whereas Jharkhand had only 404 manned and 367 unmanned level crossings; it was added.
Further, the minister said that railways had their own year-wise schedule plan for manning / elimination of level crossings in order to increase safety. Under this plan, the unmanned level crossings are eliminated by constructing an under-bridge or the sub-way and also by constructing a diversion road for merger of unmanned level crossing to nearby manned gate; the minister said and added that railways also decided to progressively man such unmanned level crossings which could not be eliminated.
About steps taken to prevent deaths on railway tracks, the minister stated that regular announcements were made through public address system urging passengers to use foot over bridges and avoid crossing the tracks. Various awareness drives about the fatalities of crossing railway tracks were also organized, he said and added that as many as 1,61,192 persons were prosecuted under section 147 of the Railways Act during 2011 for unauthorized trespassing.