SRIKAKULAM: The apathy of the railway authorities and elected representatives has put the lives of a large number of people, particularly students, in grave danger at the unmanned level crossing close to Amadalavalasa railway station in Srikakulam district. Interestingly, the railway officials had built a guard room and installed all required equipment for a fully-operated railway gate two years ago but removed the gates within a couple of weeks, consequently turning equipment worth lakhs of rupees into unusable scrap.
Ward Number 21 of Amudalavalasa municipal limits had an unmanned level crossing near Kuddiram village where scores of people travel across the tracks every day. The railway authorities, following pressure from locals, constructed a guard room in 2012 and installed a railway gate which was operated for a couple of weeks by a gateman. The authorities had written to the general manager, East Coast Railway for sanction of a gateman post to the Kuddiram village gate. As there was no sanctioned post, railway authorities removed the gate and locked the guard room. As a result, the equipment has now become useless.
“There will be thousands of proposals laid on the tables of railway authorities at various levels. Unless there is political intervention from the local elected representatives, these proposals are unlikely to be cleared. Due to poor coordination among the local MPs, the post might not have been sanctioned,” a senior official of Waltair railway division said.
There are several unmanned level crossings at Itchapuram, Palasa, Tekkali, Narasannapeta, Amadalavalasa and Etcherla. At every unmanned level crossing, a large number of people, mainly students, cross the tracks. Several fatal incidents have been reported in the past and cattle being run over by the trains on the tracks is very common.
EQUIPMENT GOES WASTE
“The civil works were completed about one-and-a-half years ago. The equipment has also been acquired. However, due to lack of manpower, the gate has not been opened. There is no clarity on which railway station has jurisdiction over the gate. It could be either Amadalavalasa railway station or Dusi station. To operate the gate, a minimum of four persons are needed. There is no possibility of outsourced personnel in the Safety Department of Railways. At present, it is only an unmanned level-crossing,” a railway official said.