Average of 30 deaths per month: Lights and bells for unprotected level crossings | Sunday Observer

Average of 30 deaths per month: Lights and bells for unprotected level crossings

Installing bells and signal lights at 200 unprotected level crossings will commence this month according to contracts that have been signed, General Manager of Railways B.A.P Ariyaratne told the Sunday Observer.

The Railway Department has also called tenders to install gates for another 200 unprotected level crossings, and it has been forwarded to the tender board for approval.

“Currently there are 670 unprotected level crossings across the country. Though we call it unprotected we have put bamboo gate barriers and deployed people to man those bamboo gates. Unprotected level crossings we have initiated to install bells and lights at 200 selected unprotected level crossings. We have already awarded the contract through a tender procedure,” he said.

The General Manager said that reports indicate that an average of 30 deaths per month have been recorded due to run down by trains while walking on the railway tracks.

“Our records indicate that more than 30 people die while walking on the rail track. Now this can be either mistakenly or due to attempt suicide. It is difficult to differentiate between the two. But the rate is very high. It is legally prohibited to walk on the railway track. But we have taken into custody from time to time and produce them before courts and they were fined by the courts.”

Over two hundred people were arrested last year for this offence. While at one time over 100 people had been arrested in one district.

“The third kind of accidents take place at the level crossings. There are protected and unprotected level crossings. But even with the bell and lights some vehicles meet with accidents at these level crossings. The classic example is the accident which took place in Wadduwa and five people died. The numbers of deaths by walking on the railway tracks have increased,” said Ariyaratne.