KOLKATA: The Metro Railway in Kolkata is awaiting a nod from the Railway Board on a project for installing screen doors at three stations on an experimental basis.
TOI had reported in January, 2011 that the Metro is planning screen doors at stations to prevent suicides. The Rs 12-crore plan was subsequently sent to the Railway Board in Delhi and officials had hoped that the doors would be in place at three stations by the end of the year.
“We have forwarded the project to Delhi. Work will start as soon as we receive the clearance. We are hopeful of receiving it as lives are at stake.
Once all stations have screen doors, there will be no more suicides in the Metro Railway network,” said Protyush Ghosh, DGMG, Metro Railway.
Till date, 225 people have attempted suicide at Metro stations in Kolkata. Of them, 114 have died while alert station staff has succeeded in saving the rest. The last one to die was 30-year-old woman from Baguiati when she flung herself in front of a Dum Dum-bound train at the Sovabazar station on Wednesday. Officials said suicides not only cause inconvenience for employees and commuters, they also lead to considerable mental trauma. In some cases, the bodies are mutilated and have to be removed by station staff before the next train can run
“Suicides do impact the lives of others. It is a bad experience for the station staff and motormen. We would certainly want suicides to stop. Certain steps have been taken. Station staff and Railway Protection Force
RPF personnel have been asked to keep a lookout for abnormal behaviour among commuters. Motormen have also been asked to slow down while entering the platforms. However, there is a limit to how much speed can be controlled. The train has to cover the length of the platform after all. These steps have yielded results but some suicides have still taken place. This will come to a complete end once the screen doors are installed,” an official said.
A screen door is a plexiglass or fiberglass wall at the edge of the platform that slides into place once a train gets ready to leave, blocking access to the tracks. Once the next train stops at the station, the door slides open, allowing commuters to board or get off.
If the Railway Board gives clearance, Metro Railway will be the first underground network in the country to introduce screen doors. Several metro networks across the world have screen doors. In Asia, metro networks in Japan, South Korea, China, Dubai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have screen doors.
The Kolkata metro now has 23 stations, 15 of which are underground. Most suicides occur in the underground stations and officials want to cover these first if the ministry agrees to the proposal. More info