The Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal chaired a detailed meeting with CRB and Railway Board members, Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, GMs of 5 Railway zones and other senior officials in New Delhi today. During the meeting, he reviewed the plan to completely eliminate Unmanned Level Crossings (UMLCs) from Indian Railways. The meeting started with a 2 minute silence in the memory of the victims of Kushinagar accident.
The very first meeting held by Shri Piyush Goyal after taking charge as Railway Minister was on safety on 7th September 2017. He had directed that all UMLCs should be eliminated in the next one year. Significant progress has been achieved in this regard with only 58 UMLCs remaining on the A, B and C routes which account for more than 80% of the Indian Railways traffic.
Indian Railways has taken many steps towards reducing accidents at UMLCs with 79% reduction in UMLC accidents in the last 4 years (47 accidents in 2013-14 reduced to 10 in 2017-18). The average rate of elimination of UMLCs has also increased by nearly two thirds over the last four years. Now only 3,479 UMLCs remain on the Broad Gauge network.
A multipronged strategy is now planned to eliminate the remaining UMLCs which will include manning of UMLCs, construction of Railway Under Bridges (RUBs), Railway OverBridges (Railway Over Bridges), diversion, etc. This will be done through simultaneous execution of work in track sections. A detailed review was done with the GMs of five critical zones with significant number of UMLCs.
Progress of elimination of UMLCs will also be shared transparently online through a website to increase accountability and public monitoring.
Target for eliminating UMLCs in 11 zones will be September 2018. For the remaining 5 zones targets will be set shortly. Shri Piyush Goyal reiterated the aim of Safety First for Indian railways and emphasized that every life saved is worth its weight in gold.
East Coast Railway has a few unmanned level crossing gates in Sambalpur and Waltair divisions. Khurda road division has already cleared all unmanned level crossings. Target for closure of all unmanned level crossings in East Coast Railway is July 2018.