Taking The Law In Our Own Hands and Playing with Our Lives

Posted on July 8, 2009 in Society

Saravana Kumar

I travel by a suburban train every day to reach my office. I have observed that several people cross over the tracks to reach the platform. Some people who find it difficult to climb the foot over bridge tend to take the risk of entering through the open space in the fencing/compound wall and cross the track or walk along the tracks, some distance, to reach the platform. Invariably even able bodied men, women and children resort to this practice during peak hours as well as during non peak hours.

While walking along or crossing the tracks, if they happen to see a train approaching the station, they hurry to reach the station and in their anxiety fail to see the train coming on the other track in the opposite direction. During the peak hours several local and express trains pass through at high speed across stations.

On the other side we have people who are in a hurry and without bother about the trains coming, cross the tracks without looking either side. Yet, if you venture to quiz them they are fully aware that they are taking a risk and that crossing of railway tracks is an offense.

This morning, I happened to witness a young man jump over the fence to impress the on lookers standing in the platform and tried to cross the tracks in order to catch the train. Unfortunately he was hit by the train which led to the end of his life. Though his action is unlawful, loss of human life drew a lot of pity all around.

The railway owned by the government has several rules on safety but implementing the safety measures are far from satisfactory. For instance, for all transport vehicles the carrying capacity has been determined and exceeding the limit is punishable.

All of us know and have seen on numerous occasions that drivers are penalized for carrying extra persons/exceeding the permissible carrying capacity in case of a goods vehicle. But this rule and penalty for breaking the rule seems to apply to common people and not to governments who make such rules primarily for safety reasons. Any number of people can get into the suburban trains as long as the gentlemen/ladies standing at foot boards permit, which itself is unlawful according to rules. In the case of state owned and private buses, the desire of the crew for their collection incentives is the limit for number of people who can get in and of course not taking into account, that they willfully do not get in but HANG OUT. We all know unscrupulous boys/men hang out in front to girls schools or women colleges but this is at its worse and at the risk of their as well as others lives

Similarly the railway authorities fail to ensure that the fences and walls that run along the length of the tracks are closed so that people use only the foot over bridge/subway to enter/ exit railway stations. There should be concrete action from the railways to prevent people crossing the tracks by ensuring that the tracks are well protected on either side without any break. After all, the tracks are laid in their property and preventing trespassing is also one of their responsibilities. Similarly over crowding in trains as well as in buses should be prevented and only the permitted capacity should be allowed.

If the states as well as central governments are greedy to fill their coffers at the risk of common men then they should never have framed the rules which they themselves can not practice. It is as simple as TNEB writing on the walls of their own offices that, “electricity saved is electricity produced” and more often than not failing to switch off the power after the office hours.

Solutions for these problems are available and if there is determination on the part of officials and their political bosses we can certainly achieve the ideal situation.