118 people had died in 2013-14 due to railway crossings being unmanned in India. Due to the work by the railway ministry in the Modi Government, the deaths due to Unmanned Level Crossing (UMLCs) in 6 months ending September 2018, had come down to just THREE.
The Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal has promised that the entire Indian railways network will be free of UMLCs by the end of the year.
From 2014-17, the railways eliminated about 1,100 unmanned level crossings every year. There were around 5,500 unmanned level crossings on the rail network across the country out of which, around 5,000 have been eliminated as of September 30. The remaining 474 would be eliminated by December.
Working along those lines of promise, the Southern Railways announced today that it had become UMLC free.
The Southern Railway Saturday said it has become “Unmanned Level Crossing (UMLC) Free Zone,” by implementing a 2010 policy decision, eliminating over 1,000 such level crossings.
Until now, things which did not impact the rich and the strong did not have any importance in the work of the ministries. People who died in hundreds were usually villagers or poor or unsuspecting folks who were stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. Deaths which could be avoided with some planning and work. Which is what must be appreciated about what the Railway Ministry has achieved!
Here are some statistics to consider from a study by UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
And although dated, here is a table with the fatalities and the number of accidents.
How has this work been done? Well, here are some of the steps taken:
Accordingly, the elimination of all 1054 UMLCs were planned by offering alternate modes of crossing the track by provision of subways, diversion to adjacent manned level crossings, subways, road under bridges and outright closure due to low road traffic, it added.
Now, think about this again. We are now looking at crossings which will now be smooth flow of traffic, both for trains and local road transport, as a subway was created or an overbridge was created. That the deaths will be eliminated and avoided is obvious. But even the time taken for the traffic will be changed substantially as the stops have been eliminated. That is what is needed in thinking of the Government of the day.