The Railways and the Maharashtra government should explore if there is any technology to detect presence of foreign objects on railway tracks so as to avert accidents, the Bombay High Court today suggested. A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade had last week asked the railway authorities and the state government if they had any technology to detect foreign objects on railway tracks in case of sabotage or terror attacks, to which they had replied in the negative. The query was made in the wake of an incident at Diva station near Mumbai in January, where an alert motorman averted an accident after spotting a piece of rail on a track.
Advocate Suresh Kumar, appearing for the Railways (Central and Western), today told the HC that it lacked any such mechanism or technology at present. However, following the Diva incident, the Railways had consulted with the Uttar Pradesh ATS, probing three such incidents in the northern state, to explore relevant technology, he said.
Kumar said Railways has formed several groups comprising the local police and the Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel to routinely patrol tracks. A state government lawyer too said they do not have such mechanism at present. The HC then suggested that the Railways and the government consult some foreign countries to see if they have any technology to avoid such incidents.
“Nowadays, one has access to very advance technology. Satellites in space are equipped to detect objects on earth. So if you (state and Railways) look in the right direction, explore the right technology, you will be able to find an appropriate solution,” Justice Kanade said. The HC also noted that since illegal encroachments lie along most suburban railway tracks, they give people easy access to tracks. “The need of the hour is to construct boundary walls,” the HC said.
The HC directed the Railways to submit details about the sites identified for construction of boundary walls and time needed to complete the work. It also sought to know about the progress regarding construction of emergency medical rooms at all stations and the funds allocated for the same.