MUMBAI: The Commissioner Railway Safety (CRS) has asked Central Railway to first take measures to prevent roof-top traveling before the section between Thane-Kalyan and Thane-LTT siwtches to 25 KV alternating current from 1500 volts Direct Current on these two stretch.
The latest directive days before the block was planned this weekened has miffed CR officials.
A CR official said, “The CRS, Central Circle position has led to a impasse as far the conversion project is concerned. Roof-top traveling has been happening for long and CR has taken various measures, including imposition of fine against the offender. We have also launched awareness campaign through various mediums to prevent stunts.”
CR prepared a report on anti-roof top traveling measures and sent it to CRS, central circle on Friday before 5 pm in anticipation that approval later will come in their hand immediately. However, CRS has forwarded the CR report to his superior chief commissioner of railway safety (CCRS), Lucknow. The CCRS and his team falls falls under ministry of civil aviation.
CRS’s concerns stem from the fact that 25 kv alternating current is 17 times stronger than DC power. Anyone coming within two metres of the overhead wire will be charred to death.
CRS of Central Circle Chetan Bakshi told, “every year, on an average 20 people meet with accident due to roof-top traveling on CR suburban stretch. Of these around, 10 to 12 people meet with death. As per railway act, the concerned zonal railway should conduct an inquiry and also inform the CRS. However, the matter is reported with GRP but no inquiry is conducted neither is the CRS informed.”
He further, “The switch-over to AC will further increase the possibility of such accidents. The railway has to step in and issue necessary directives.”
CR official said, “If WR can switch to AC current, why should CR be treated with a different yardstick. Anyways, the section beyond Kalyan has already switched to AC. If this condition is not applicable in existing AC traction territory, there should be no justification for making an exception for the stretch between Thane-LTT and Thane-Kalyan.”
Baksh that even WR should follow the rule as laid down in the Railway Act on roof-top traveling.
CR said that the delay will cause financial loss to the of Rs 1 crore per day in terms of low energy bills, detention time, reduced maintenance etc.
The total cost of DC-AC conversion project is Rs 1299 crore. Till now railways have spent Rs 910 crore for AC on beyond Kalyan.
The Thane- Kalyan and Thane-LTT AC tractiom was test charged in Dec 2012 with AC loco. Ideally, both this stretch should have should have switched to AC tractiom April.
A CR official said, “We have done several correspondence with CRS from May but there has been no positive outcome value addition for sanction from CRS, who inspected both this stretch last week but did not notice any shortcomings.”