Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More plans for ROBs, RUBs in the pipeline

More plans for ROBs, RUBs in the pipeline
Deccan Herald

It’s no movie thriller. Daring a running train has become a chronic disorder among ‘time-conscious’ motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in Bangalore. Despite the danger to one’s own safety and the act amounting to a violation under the Motor Vehicles Act, squeezing under the railway barricade is no big deal in the city.

The danger is doubled if the level crossing is unmanned. India has about 24,000 of them. This explains why this year’s Railway Budget has a new safety related plan head - for railway overbridges (ROB) and railway underbridges (RUB).

A sum of Rs 436 crore has been set aside for new ROBs and RUBs. While, the allocation for manning of unmanned level crossings is Rs 275 crore. “For the first time, the Railway Board has approved our proposal for 20 ROBs and 12 RUBs in Bangalore division. However, we have as many as 400 unmanned level crossings,” say senior officials of the Bangalore division of the South Western Railway .

“Manning does not ensure safety as people tend to ignore the long whistle, or the signal lights. Many people squeeze in under the barricade. So, RUBs are safer as the level crossings become signal free,” say Railway engineers. According to former divisional railway manager Mahesh Kumar, RUBs and ROBs are cost effective in the long run compared to manning. “Though the initial cost is high it is a one-time investment and a safer option, as it rules out human errors encountered at manned junctions.” “The cost of building a ROB is about Rs 8 crore, while an underbridge would cost at least Rs 65 lakh. Yet, it is cost-effective as manning is a recurring cost.”

Months after the project has been approved by the Board, it is yet to take off. A major challenge facing the railway officials is to identify the level crossings for ROBs and RUBs.

“It is a highly technical task involving study of grades, shifting of utility lines like drainages, electricity and telephone cables, apart from land acquisition,” says a senior official.

“At present, we have identified only about four level crossings for RUBs, which include one in Gowribidanur, Byappanahalli-Hosur, Yeshwantpur-Chikbanavar. Since most of the land around these projects belong to private owners, it is difficult to acquire. We also need to carry out feasibility studies of traffic density, gradient,” explains an engineer.


Post a Comment

<< Home