Mumbai railway disaster claims yet another life

Saturday, 18 January 2014 - 8:46am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Less than a week after college student Monica More lost both her arms and a day after electrician Tanavir Sheikh lost both his legs after falling in the gap between the platform and coach, a jewellery designer died after being involved in a similar train-related accident in Andheri on Friday.

Incidentally, the Bombay high court on Friday took suo motu cognisance of media reports about Monica’s accident at Ghatkopar station and asked the railway authorities to file a reply by February 13. 

Ziarul Sheikh, 21, a resident of Khar, was on his way to a jewellery unit in Virar where he worked.

The police said he tried to board the 15-coach Andheri-Virar fast train around 10am after it had gained speed and eight of its coaches had cleared platform number 8. “He descended from the footover bridge and even grabbed the pole of a compartment. But he lost his grip and fell into the gap between the platform and the coach. As a result, his leg was severed,” said Shivaji Shinde, senior inspector with the Andheri railway police.

Sheikh was first taken to Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle and then to Criticare in Juhu. The doctors said he was losing blood rapidly and suffered a heart attack while he was being taken into emergency care. His left leg had to be surgically amputated around 1pm.

“When he was brought to Criticare, we made dire attempts to resuscitate him. However, his condition kept deteriorating,” said Dr Deepak Namjoshi, intensivist at Criticare Hospital. “Sheikh was unconscious and on artificial life support since he was admitted to hospital. He showed faint signs of recovering after the amputation. However, after 7pm, his blood pressure plummeted rapidly and he succumbed to his injuries.”

Sheikh’s death is another stark reminder of how commuter safety on the city’s suburban system is going into a tailspin. While the number of passengers has increased – almost 35 lakh on Western Railway and 40 lakh on Central Railway – the facilities at stations haven’t improved. In the last five years, 3,700 people have been killed every year, making the Mumbai suburban system the most dangerous railway network in the country.

While the Central Railway earned around Rs655 crore from its suburban system last year, it spent a little over Rs10 crore on passenger amenities. The Western Railway’s earnings were Rs519 crore till December 2013. Officials expect the figure to touch Rs728 crore by March-end. However, a measly Rs16.5 crore was spent on passenger amenities between April 2012 and March 2013.

In fact, as highlighted by dna, both Western and Central Railway spent more on compensating the dead and injured from train accidents than on passenger amenities. The Central Railway spent Rs71 crore in the past two years on compensation; the Western Railway Rs14 crore. The railways has so far shied away from admitting negligence. But on Friday, the Kurla railway police filed a case against Central Railway officials under section 338 (causing grievance hurt act by endangering life or personal safety) and section 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code in connection with Monica More’s accident.

Rooftop travel leaves Mankhurd man critical
Mankhurd resident Milzul Haq Hussein, 25, was left severely burnt after he accidentally touched the overhead wire while travelling on the roof of a Panvel-CST train around 10.15am. The police said he was vomitting blood when he was taken to Sion Hospital. The doctors said his condition remains critical.

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