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Rly help came late for electrocuted man

Thursday, October 11, 2018
By Jagruti Verma

He travelled for 40 mins atop local

A 30-year-old male got electrocuted on a Harbour Line train at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus on Tuesday night. Prime facie it is being speculated that the man climbed to the top of the train at Vashi or Mankhurd station, about a 40-minutes long journey, got up at CSMT, where he came in contact with the overhead equipment or at least its electric field. According to Railway Protection Force (RPF), CCTV footage will be checked to confirm the same.

“According to the victim, he got on the train at around Vashi or Mankhurd station. We will be checking the CCTV footage to confirm the same,” said an RPF official. While the CSMT RPF has been roped in because of the rooftop travelling case, the Mankhurd RPF will be responsible for checking if he indeed got on the train at Vashi or Mankhurd.

The Government Railway Police (GRP) is the one involved in the case as the passenger was injured. According to the case records, the name of the man is Rahul Gautam, aged 30 years. The train on which the incident took place had arrived at CSMT and was to return to Vashi as a 11:42 pm local. The victim must have been subjected to 25,000 volt current while on top of the train.

“At around 11:30 pm, I was standing near the Times of India office and saw sparks flying and heard a loud noise. When I rushed to the platform, I saw a body on the first coach of the train. It was charred and smoke was visible from it,” said a person who witnessed the incident. The person was alive at the time and was struggling. He fell on the platform in the process.

The people on the platform were very agitated because of the alleged delay on the part of the Railways to help the victim. A witness said, “They wasted half an hour doing nothing!” The delay was further worsened due to non-availability of a driver in the ambulance. All this despite the hospital being right next to the station, the person added.

Despite the time lapse, Gautam was admitted at St George Hospital. “He has suffered 50 per cent burns and is being treated with antibiotics. We are trying to reduce the chances of an infection by administering the required injections and dressing changes,” said, Dr Madhukar Gaikwad, Medical Superintendent, St George Hospital.

“In such cases, the patient loses a lot of fluid through the skin and this needs to be controlled and managed,” he added. The recovery from the condition is a long one if the person survived. “In case of an overhead electrocution, the current is too much for the body to handle and even if the person looks fine physically, there is a significant damage to the internal organs,” said a railway official.

A certain amount of insensitivity does creep in the way Railway officials and personnel deal with such cases. “We do so much to advertise the fact that rooftop travel is fatal and against the Railway Act but people still go ahead and climb trains. How much can be stop them?” asks a senior railway official. Rooftop and footboard travel is a punishable offence under Section 156 of the Railway Act.

Till September this year, 12 people lost their lives after being electrocuted on Railway premises. In 2017, the number was 25 and in 2016, 27. “In a majority cases of rooftop travelling and electrocution, the current is too severe for the body and the victim loses their life,” said Sachin Bhalode, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, Mumbai Division, Central Railway.

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