These five zones - labelled by the national transporter as 'critical', as they have the most unmanned level crossings - have 2,556 UMLCs out of a total of 3,479 such crossings on broad-gauge across the railway network.
More than 70 per cent of all unmanned level crossings (UMLCs) are in five railway zones, official data shows. These five zones – labelled by the national transporter as ‘critical’, as they have the most unmanned level crossings – have 2,556 UMLCs out of a total of 3,479 such crossings on broad-gauge across the railway network. Thirteen children were killed in an accident yesterday in Khushinagar when a train rammed into their school van.
The area falls under the North Eastern Railway zone headquartered in Gorakhpur and has 553 such UMLCs. However, officials said today that the level crossing in Khushinagar where the accident occurred was a low-density route, where trains do not travel frequently or at high speeds.
The other zones in the critical list include Northern Railway zone with headquarters in Delhi (606), Western Railway in Mumbai (638), North Western Railway in Jaipur (311) and East Central Railway at Hajipur (448). While Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has set a target of September 2018 for complete elimination of all unmanned level crossings (UMLCs) in routes with high traffic, ministry officials say that most such UMLCs, including those in critical zones, will be eliminated by 2020.
According to officials, all unmanned level crossings will either be converted to manned crossings or the Railways will undertake construction of over or under bridges to bypass such crossings. Mechanical manned level crossings cost around Rs 10 lakh to build, while electric ones cost about Rs 27 lakh, officials said.
The national transporter has been aggressively removing UMLCs – 1,565 of them were eliminated in 2017-18 and the target is of removing 1,600 in 2018-19. This has resulted in decrease of accidents at such crossings over the years – in 2014-2015, 50 such accidents took place at unmanned crossings, 29 in 2015-2016, 20 in 2016-2017, 10 in 2017-2018 and one this year.