Unmanned railway track at Hebbal an invitation to disaster

Barrier system at level crossing was done away with when flyover was built

  The unman­n­ed railway level crossing under the Hebbal flyover has put the lives of pedestrians and vehicle riders at risk.

IN FOCUS: Seventeen people have lost their lives at the unmanned railway level crossing under the Hebbalflyover. DH PHOTO

There have been a number of accidents at the spot, resulting in loss of lives, in the past few years as there is neither a barrier nor personnel to operate them whenever trains pass by.

Seventeen people died while crossing the railway track last year. Residents maintain that earlier, there was a railway barrier and four guards who worked in shifts to monitor the movement of pedestrians at the track. But ever since the Hebbal flyover was constructed, the authorities removed the arrangement.

Lakshminarayana, a resident, said: “The Hebbal flyover is rarely used by people and there was no need for it. Instead, the railway authorities could have constructed a subway/underpass below the railway track. To go towards the Hebbal Ring Road and to reach bus terminals, people are forced to cross this railway track. Although not many pedestrians cross the track at night, the number of people crossing the track is high during the day,” said Rajan, another resident.

The residents said two years ago, the then Union Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa had visited the spot and promised the residents that a subway would be constructed. But till date, nothing has been done. A month ago, a woman who was crossing the track on a vehicle, along with her two children, met with an accident and died on the spot.

As many as 25 to 30 trains pass through this spot daily. Residents feel accidents can be prevented if those crossing the tracks are careful.

“I see many youngsters speaking on the mobile phones while crossing the track. Some of them do not pay heed to the arriving trains. They should look out for trains on either side and then cross the track, said S Louis Amuthan, senior divisional security commissioner, Railway Protection Force.

Things are no different at the Hebbal railway station and commuters are at equal risk. Since there is no skywalk, passengers have to cross the track to reach the platform on the other side. As many as 200 to 300 passengers board trains at the station every day. But, safety measures have not been taken by the railway authorities.

Not even one

“The nearby Bhoopasandra railway station has two railway level crossings, whereas here there is not even one,” said Lakshmi H, a frequent railway traveller.

Hebbal station master John Samuel, however, denied accidents take place on the tracks. Instead, he blamed the people for taking the shortcut and not using the skywalk. “Many times, I have warned the people against crossing the railway tracks. But they never listen,” Samuel said.

Hebbal MLA Katta Subramanya Naidu expressed displeasure at the negligence of the Railways. He said, “I have asked the railway officials to build subways at Hebbal, Kanakapura, Nagenahalli and other places. But that has not been done.”

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