Attaching utmost importance to safety at unmanned level crossing gates, the Northeast Frontier Railway has proposed to deploy “Gate Mitra” at unmanned level crossings to check accidents.
‘Gate Mitra’ is an initiative of the Ministry of Railways to enhance safety and prevent accidents at unmanned level crossing gates. The person engaged as “Gate Mitra” would alert road-users about approaching trains at unmanned level crossings. They are primarily deployed to counsel the road users to be vigilant while crossing the unmanned level crossing gates. The idea is to put in place a mechanism before all unmanned crossings are eventually converted into either manned gates, limited height subways or road over bridges depending on feasibility. The “Gate Mitra” will also distribute safety instruction pamphlets to road users for safely crossing the level crossing gates and will be provided with flag to alert users. Gate Mitras are imparted training on how to handle unmanned level crossings. They are also suitably counselled before being deployed.
Tinsukia Division of N.F.Railway has recently deployed ‘Gate Mitra’ at 6 nos. unmanned level crossing gates to ensure safety of road uses. The deployment of ‘Gate Mitra’ has been done on such unmanned level crossing gates where the road traffic is high so that possibility of any accident on such unmanned level crossing gates can be avoided.
Despite financial constraints, Indian Railways have set an ambitious target of eliminating 10,797 level crossings during the 12thFive Year Plan (2012-17) and has decided not to add any new level crossing to the rail network in future.
It can be mentioned here that, normally caution boards are also kept on both sides of the unmanned level crossings to alert road-users. Speed breakers are also provided on both approaches. Drivers of passing trains are mandated to sound loud continuous whistle while approaching unmanned level crossings. However it is seen that accidents do occur when road users fail to be alert while crossing the railway track.
‘Gate Mitra’ will counsel people to be alert and to educate them to gauge the high speed of the trains so that they do not take unnecessary risks while crossing railway track. This initiative of N.F.Railway is expected to go a long way in minimising accidents at unmanned level crossing gates.