Amritsar tragedy aftermath: Railway police pitches for fencing tracks in crowded areas
New Delhi, Oct 23: In the aftermath of the Amritsar tragedy in which 59 people were mowed down by a train, the Government Railway Police Tuesday pitched for fencing tracks along crowded areas to avoid such incidents, an official said.
The proposal was made during a meeting of the heads of Government Railway Police (GRP), which is a state police force responsible for maintaining law and order in the railways, from 21 states. Fifty-nine people were mowed down by a train on October 19 when they were standing on the tracks to watch Dussehra celebrations near Amritsar.
"In view of the Amritsar incident, we have decided to write to the Railway Ministry to build fences along the tracks where the area is crowded. Areas where there are chances of people spilling on to the tracks have to be fenced," the senior official, who attended the meeting, told PTI.
In the last three years, nearly 50,000 people lost their lives after being hit by trains, according to official data. The railways takes no responsibility for these deaths and terms such people 'trespassers' Under section 147 of the Railway Act trespassing is a punishable offence with jail term of around six months with fine. The Government Railway Police (GRP) collates zone-wise data on such deaths. While the meeting of the heads of the Government Railway Police takes place every year, they last met in 2016, the official said.
This year, until September, 1,20,923 people were arrested and prosecuted by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) for intruding the railway system. Under Section 147 of Indian Railway Act, a total fine of Rs 2.94 crore was imposed on them by courts during the period, according to data provided by the railways. Last year, 1,75,996 people were arrested and prosecuted by the RPF for trespassing the railway system and a fine of Rs 4.35 crore was imposed on them.
Last year, the railways was considering a proposal to build concrete walls along crowded tracks not just to stop trespassing but also to keep the tracks clean. The plan is, however, yet to materialise, primarily because of lack of funds, sources said.