It has also said that if the RPF gets any such information about crowds on the tracks, they should also act accordingly and inform relevant authorities at the earliest. Image source: Reuters
To prevent any Amritsar-like incident, Northern Railways has instructed train drivers to slow down and guards to take appropriate safety measures on spotting a crowd or events related to festivals near railway tracks. On October 19, the guard, barely 400 metres away, had failed to alert either the people watching Dussehra celebrations standing on the tracks or the nearest station. Fifty-nine people were mowed down by the train as the people standing on the tracks were caught unawares.
The Indian Railways has maintained that it was not at fault because it had no intimation of the event. "The railways has taken the incident of running over of 59 people which occurred on October 19 very seriously and to ensure that such incidents don't happen in the future, the railway administration has issued the following orders which are to be implemented," said the letter dated October 23 written by the senior divisional operational manager Northern Railway to all the divisions of the zone.
The letter has instructions for pilots, loco-pilots, guards, gatemen, keyman, station masters as well as the Railway Protection Force. "If, while working, you see a crowd of people around the railway tracks, events related to some festival taking place, a fair or any public activity that is unusual, then control your speed. Inform the nearest station about it as well as provide the information in writing to the stationmaster in the trains next scheduled stoppage," the letter has instructed pilots, loco-pilots, guards, gatemen and keymen.
It has also said that during the festive season they should continuously "whistle" while crossing level crossings and work sites.
The instructions also state that if during duty hours, any gateman, loco-pilot, guard or any railway staff or any member of the public informs the station master of any crowd or activity on the tracks, then he should act immediately and inform the RPF, GRP, local police and divisional controller for necessary action.
It has also said that if the RPF gets any such information about crowds on the tracks, they should also act accordingly and inform relevant authorities at the earliest.
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Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said that these instructions were already part of railways' operating manual and the October 23 letter was reiterating the instructions already in it.
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