Although suburban railway is considered the lifeline of Mumbai, it is increasingly becoming a ‘death trap’ for commuters as over 3,000 people lost their lives in train accidents in the city last year, an RTI query has revealed. According to data provided by the Government Railway Police (GRP) in response to the query, as many as 3,014 commuters died on the tracks on the western, central and harbour suburban services in the metropolis.
A city-based activist, Samir Jhaveri, had filed the RTI query. “Of the total number of deaths reported in 2017 across all the suburban stations (on all three lines), 1,651 persons (1,467 men and 184 women) lost their lives while crossing tracks. Besides, 654 passengers, including 58 women, died after falling from running trains,” the reply said.
“There are three major reasons (for the deaths)-suicide, falling from trains and being hit by trains while crossing the tracks illegally. While suicides cannot be controlled, we can avoid the other two,” ACP Central Railway GRP, Machhindra Chavan, told PTI. “Commuters cross tracks to get from one gate to another. They then try to catch running trains like Marathi actor Praful Bhalerao (who was killed in a train accident recently). People should avoid these mistakes,” he said.
The data showed that with 1,534 deaths, the central line, which has some of the busiest stations like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Dadar and Byculla, claimed the maximum number of lives. CSMT alone accounted for 62 deaths during the period (2017), it said. The western line, comprising major stations like Churchgate, Andheri, Bandra and Borivali, witnessed 1,086 deaths last year. The maximum number of deaths (76) were reported from Borivali station.
The harbour line, operated by the Central Railway, witnessed as many as 394 deaths last year, the RTI reply revealed. While 36 people, including six women, allegedly committed suicide, 556 commuters (481 males and 75 females) died a natural death while travelling, it said.
Besides these, 1,540 people were injured while travelling on the western line, 1,435 on the central line and 370 on the harbour line, the data revealed. “There are about nine deaths everyday and efforts are being made to avoid the fatalities. We are trying to educate people. We have put up stickers at several places and organise various awareness campaigns to sensitise commuters,” the ACP said.