New Delhi: After 37 people were killed and 31 others injured when a train rammed into a bus at an unmanned crossing in Uttar Pradesh in the wee hours on Thursday, the seriousness of the state and the Central government on this issue has been questioned again.

In spite of over 100 deaths due to the unmanned crossing, the Railways, Public Works Department (State Highway) Ministry of the State government are yet to come out of their slumber. As a result, the mishaps at unmanned crossing are increasing manifold.

Former Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had promised to appoint guards for 15, 993 unmanned crossing across the nation in 2011-12. However, the promise is yet to be fulfilled.

However, the presence of a Guard at unmanned crossing is not a guarantee to prevent the mishaps. The recent mishap in the crossing at Greater Noida occurred in the presence of a guard. The Motor Vehicle Act clearly mentions the procedure to be followed while passing through an unmanned railway crossing. However, the vehicle owners often tend to ignore the rules and warnings.

A major reason behind not following the stipulated guidelines is the lower literacy rates among majority of the vehicle drivers. Most of the drivers do not receive any formal training, therefore they are unaware about the norms mentioned in the Motor Vehicle Act.

In such cases, it is the responsibility of the RTO and local police administration to apprise the drivers of the laws.

Therefore, Central Ministry and local administration should jointly conduct awareness campaigns for drivers. At present, Railways is the only department to conduct such campaigns, whereas other departments are yet to wake up on the issue.

Ministry of Road, Surface and Transport and the state administration are yet to initiate any action in this regard.

The Railways Department believes that the construction of the over-bridges is neither possible nor logical at each crossing, as it would be unable to bear financial burden alone. Therefore over-bridges were constructed on crossing of routes which had a heavy traffic movement.

(JPN/Bureau)