After a month of Amritsar incident, Railway minister Piyush Goyal showed green flag to build 3000 km wall to fence the tracks. Last month, two trains mowed 60 people who were watching Ravana effigy near the tracks on Dussehra. This project would cost Rs. 2500 crore and is a must for safety clearance for train speed of more than 160 kmph.
The walls height will be of 2.7 m and will come up along the railway tracks near the residential areas. This will cover both suburban and non-suburban areas. RCC (reinforced cement concrete) will be used for construction of the walls.
“This will prevent trespassing as well as cattle straying into the tracks in areas which are vulnerable. The height is such that dumping waste on the track will also not be easy,” said Vishwesh Chaube, Railway Board Member (Engineering), who is finalising the project.
The Commission of Railway Safety stipulates that fencing is a must for safety clearance for train speeds of 160 kmph. Only a few regions have got the speed upgrade. As these region will increase, the ministry would put fencing a must for obtaining the clearance certificate.
The boundary walls are also being planned at vulnerable areas along the Golden Quadrilateral and its diagonals. Idea of building walls is not new. Before the Amritsar incident, the zonal railways had chalked out plans to build 2,000 km of walls in some areas identified as problematic. This is a part of Budget 2018-19 and Government allocated Rs. 650 crore. To build walls, the tenders are already out and are most likely to be finalized by the next month.
Death toll due to train mowing is quite high in India. In the last three years, at least 49,790 people have been mowed down by trains — a large number of the accidents occurred in densely populated suburban areas.