Since May, the Railways has roped in eight famous personalities to create awareness on the need to use foot overbridges and avoid crossing railway tracks under its campaign ‘Ek Safar Rail Ke Saath’.
Officials said that this is the first time they have got celebrities on board to educate commuters about the perils of overlooking their safety during rail travel. Among actors, Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, Daljeet Dosanjh and John Abraham have been roped in. While film directors Nishikant Kamat and Sisir Mishra have given out messages, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has appeared in a video on railway safety aired at stations and TV channels.
In May, the Central Railway had roped in Bachchan, who spoke to passengers on following safety rules. The Western Railway (WR) has roped in Tendulkar, who has shared his views on trespassing, women’s safety and cleanliness.
“This special awareness campaign comprises several short video/audio recording clips, which will be played on LCD/LED screens across WR for the next few months. The video clips will also be telecast on popular TV channels and movie theatres, while the audio clips will be played at suburban stations, in suburban trains and also on leading FM radio channels,” said Ravinder Bhaker, WR spokesperson. Some of these clips are already being circulated to reach out to commuters.
Under the campaign, the actors have shared their views on train journeys. Many have recalled their personal experiences of travelling in trains. In the videos, the actors have urged the people to keep stations clean and use foot overbridges, escalators or subways to cross tracks.
“While we make continuous announcements and publish newspaper advertisements to advise commuters against crossing tracks, these celebrities have a mass connect with the passengers. If they appeal on issues like avoiding trespassing on tracks or about the importance of keeping the station clean, commuters are likely to follow. We hope to rope in more celebrities, actors and stars to spread the message better,” an official said.
The decision comes after the September 2017 stampede on the foot overbridge connecting Parel and Prabhadevi (then Elphinstone Road) stations, resulting in 23 deaths. In Mumbai, at least 10 people die daily on an average in railway-related accidents. Among the major causes, trespassing accounts for most deaths — in 2017, 1,651 people had died and 378 injured.
The suburban section is used by 80 lakh commuters on daily. Both Central and Western Railways have tried to make additional foot overbridges in between two stations where commuters tend to trespass. Other measures like constructing dividers between two tracks, spot fines and making a tiny garden at the end of platform to dissuade trespassing have also been undertaken.