Migrants Thought Trains Weren’t Running: Rail Safety Officer

The commissioner reportedly wrote that railways personnel should inform authorities about people walking on tracks.

2 min read
Police personnel inspect the spot after a goods train ran over a group of migrant workers while they were sleeping on the tracks, in Aurangabad.

Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, SK Pathak, who heads a wing that investigates serious rail accidents, has reportedly written to the Railway Board chairman asking that ‘abundant caution’ be exercised about migrants walking near train tracks under the false impression that no trains were plying due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to Hindustan Times , in the letter, written hours after 16 migrant labourers were crushed to death by a goods train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad on Friday, 8 May, Pathak had stated that an inquiry had been ordered into the incident and said that all efforts must be done to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

“Apparently, the affected persons had gathered along the track under the impression that the train services have been suspended due to Covid-19 lockdown. Furthermore, false sense of security may have come to their minds about there being no trains on run whereas freight, parcel specials have been running from before and now migrant specials have also started plying,” he reportedly wrote.

The commissioner also reportedly wrote that all railways personnel, primarily those working in train operations, maintenance and patrolling, should communicate any occurrence of persons walking near the train tracks.

According to the rail ministry, the loco pilot driving the train had tried to warn the sleeping migrants by honking and had also tried stopping the train. Pathak also reportedly directed that a ‘caution order’ should be given for special precautions.

“In consequence of the line being under repair or for any other reason, special precautions are necessary, a Caution Order detailing the kilometres between which such precautions are necessary, the reasons for taking such precautions, and the speed at which a train shall travel, shall be handed to the Loco Pilot at the stopping station immediately short of the place where such precautions are necessary, or at such other stations and in such manner, as prescribed under special instructions,” the letter said.

(With inputs from Hindustan Times)

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