Indian Railways turns to Kumbh experts to manage monsoon crowds at stations
Indian Railways authorities are planning to rope in crowd management experts who handle the enormous crowd at Nashik’s Kumbh Mela in order to prevent a stampede situation during the monsoon. The authorities will be deploying personnel at the entrance of stations to guide the commuters on crowding on foot over bridges and platforms.
As the memory of the Elphinstone-Parel stampede still haunts Mumbaikars, the Indian Railways authorities are planning to rope in crowd management experts who handle the enormous crowd at Nashik’s Kumbh Mela in order to prevent a stampede situation during the monsoon. The authorities will be deploying personnel at the entrance of stations to guide the commuters on crowding on foot over bridges and platforms.
According to sources, railway staff will be making announcements regarding the crowd gathered at different points and the pace at which it is moving on microphones and speakers.
The personnel will be standing at a distance of 20-30 metres from the station and maintain constant communication with the railway police force (RPF) and the Maharashtra State Security Force and Home guards. The announcements will help people make a decision on whether or not to take the premises.
SK Jain, Divisional Railway Manager of Central Railway said, “We have asked the police authorities and crowd management experts from Nashik who have handled Kumbh Mela to train our staff during this monsoon. This will help in managing the crowd on 13 vulnerable stations.”
“We had a detailed discussion on various issues of crowd management with the railways,” said Dr Ravinder Singal, Commissioner of Police, Nashik. Apart from this, the experts have suggested the need to deploy specific people with uniforms so that commuters can approach them for help. The railway authorities wants to tread the path followed by China, where authorities are given bright fluorescent uniforms which commuters can identify, informed sources.
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They shall also be taking help of the CCTVs installed at stations. The cyber officers monitoring them will give specific information of crowding at locations, the situation on the staircase of FOBs and the number of people waiting at the entry/exit points. The Central Railways have appointed 259 staff of the Maharashtra State Security Force and 122 homeguards for managing crowds at stations. Similarly, the Western Railways have appointed 300 plus MSSF and homeguards for the same.
By Shashank Rao, DNA