Jaywalking across railway lines is a trespass that attracts punishment under provisions of The Railways Act, 1989. However, hundreds of people cross the Madurai-Virudhunagar railway line near Tirupparankundram throughout the day.

Several fatal accidents have been reported on a 400-metre stretch of the line between the two road-overbridges that connect Madurai-Tirumangalam highway with Tirupparankundram. These accidents mainly occur as people fail to take notice of the fast approaching goods and passenger trains while crossing the track.

“People find crossing the railway line easier to reach the Madurai-Tirumangalam road to catch buses or shareautos for going to Tirumangalam or to Periyar bus stand,” said a Railway Protection Force personnel. With many of them being school and college students, punishing them every day was a problem. The railway officials had conducted many safety awareness campaigns, but people continued to cross the tracks, he said.

Divisional Railway Manager Neenu Ittyerah and Corporation Commissioner Aneesh Sekar made a joint inspection of the stretch on June 19 to find ways for preventing the fatal accidents.

Consequent to the inspection, the city police banned halts for buses and share auto-rickshaws on both sides of the roads with a view to preventing people from crossing the railway line just to catch buses or autos. Huge boards were put up on both sides of the roads stating that the bus stops had been removed. The drivers were warned against stopping their vehicles for picking up and dropping passengers.

Though the buses do not stop here anymore, the share autos do. They stop right in front of the warning boards and many people still use them and risk their lives. Many of them are seen proceeding to a temple located on the other side of the railway track. “Two persons have been killed in the last few days, making it a wasteful exercise,” a railway official said.

“Though policemen cannot be posted there at all times, we will conduct special drives to ensure that no vehicle stops here,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Arun Balagopalan said.

Another police officer said that erecting fences on both sides of the railway tracks and blocking the main thoroughfare near the temple would be a better deterrent.

Erecting fences on both sides of tracks and blocking the main thoroughfare near the temple will be a better deterrent

Police official

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