S. Vijay Kumar

To make optimum utilisation of ‘golden hour’

MADURAI: In a bid to make optimum utilisation of the ‘golden hour’ (first hour after accident), the Government Railway Police (GRP) plans to enter into a tie-up arrangement with private hospitals, Inspector-General of Police (Railways) G.U.G. Shastry, has said.

Besides establishing a network of ambulances, doctors and hospitals, steps will be taken to introduce short messaging service (SMS) linking GRP personnel with Station Masters for easy communication during situations requiring medical help.

“Reducing deaths on railway premises is one of our priority areas. At least 1,600 persons die every year in Southern Railway (Tamil Nadu alone) on track and trains. While a majority are run-over cases, others are suicides and natural deaths. This is a serious problem…we have devised a strategy to bring down the number of deaths by 10 per cent this year,” Mr. Shastry told The Hindu on Friday.

Accident-prone areas had were identified so that precautionary measures could be taken. Select constables in GRP would be trained in first aid and life-saving techniques. “Though golden hour management here (Railways) is not so much applicable compared to roads, we still have to save the injured. The number of run-over deaths is more in and around Chennai, where passengers tend to walk along the track or cross it frequently,” he said.

Use of mobile phone is the latest threat. People speaking on phone or listening to music often ignore safety measures while approaching or crossing the track, he said. Ambulances were stationed round-the-clock at important stations in the zone. “We are concentrating on how best we can minimise deaths on railway premises. Apart from ambush checks, awareness of safety is also being created with the help of volunteers.”

In a related development, an enquiry conducted by a railway official into the incident in which a senior citizen slipped from a moving train and lost his legs in Madurai on Thursday has concluded that there was no dereliction on the part of railway staff in handling the case

. “The reaction of the frontline staff was along the expected lines. There was a delay in the railway doctor getting the information because the phone at the casualty was out of order. Regarding the non-availability of ambulance driver, we are taking it up with the GRP,” Divisional Railway Manager Hemant Kumar said.