GUWAHATI, April 5 - Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has set a target of March 2020 for eliminating all unmanned level crossings in the zone.
�By March 2010, all unmanned level crossings in NFR and Assam are targeted for total elimination,� SK Ojah, Senior Public Relations Officer (SPRO) of NFR, told The Assam Tribune.
He said that at present there are a total of 1,723 level crossings in the NFR zone. Of the total, 1,211 are manned level crossings and 512 are unmanned. In Assam alone, there are 917 level crossings, of which 731 are manned and 186 are unmanned.
Ojah said that during the last four years, 87 unmanned level crossings in NFR, which include 42 in Assam, have been closed down. Besides, another 240 unmanned level crossings have been converted into manned crossings or upgraded to road over-bridges (RoBs) and road under-bridges (RuBs), which include 134 in Assam, during the past four fiscal years.
�The target for closure or conversion to manned crossing in 2017-18 for NFR and Assam will be finalised later in April. But the approximate figure is 105,� Ojah said.
Asked about alternative arrangements where closure is to happen, he said, �The alternative arrangements are planned by diversion of road to the nearest manned level crossings or LHS/RuB."
With regard to accidents, deaths and injuries reported from unmanned level crossings Ojah said, �In NFR, there were 10 accidents involving 10 deaths and 65 injuries, which included six accidents, eight deaths and 18 injuries in Assam, during the last four fiscals.�
As per NFR officials, negligence on the part of road users is the primary reason for such accidents. The NFR SPRO said that steps have been taken to prevent such accidents.
�Manning has been done on priority basis. Deployment of �Gate Mitras� or gate counsellors on vulnerable unmanned level crossings to educate road users for safe use of level crossings, has been done. Public awareness campaigning and other measures have been conducted for prevention of such accidents,� he said.
Ojah added that railway authorities have also stepped up coordination with various state governments in this regard and regular meetings are being held.