Crowd control at stations: Railways should reduce the number of routine announcements, says Nashik Police Commissioner
The Railways should reduce the number of routine announcements on public address system and focus on providing practically useful and timely information to commuters, emphasised Ravinder Singal, Commissioner of Police, Nashik, who is an expert in crowd control, during a training session on Thursday.
Singal, who holds a PhD degree in crowd management, used innovative ideas to keep the 2015 Nashik Kumbh Mela free of stampedes.
He was invited to conduct a training workshop with railway staff with a specific emphasis on dealing with stampedes like the one that happened at the Elphinstone Road station last year.
Singal said that important announcements on the public address system get lost in the cacophony of routine announcements, and hence the commuters are deprived of timely and practically important information especially during peak hours.
“During monsoon, special measures such as keeping the entries and exits clear should be taken for smoother movement of crowd. The problem of slippery platforms and foot overbridges should also be addressed. The railways should have a proper evacuation plan in place,” said Singal.
He also suggested that the railway staff engaged in crowd control should be given special uniforms so that commuters can identify and approach them for help especially during emergency situations.
Singal also suggested that the CCTV cameras should be widely used to monitor crowd at railway stations. The CCTVs should be manned by trained personnel who can spot and alert when crowd accumulation occurs at stations with high footfalls.
“Incident like the Elphinstone Road stampede could have been avoided if someone was monitoring the accumulation of crowd and the railways would have immediately dispatched staff to disperse the crowd,” he said.
Singal advised the railways to avoid changing platforms for incoming trains at the last minute as a significant measure to avoid stampedelike scenarios.
“Each train carries more than 5,000 people during peak hours, and a 10-minute delay in the arrival of train often triggers accumulation of huge crowds on the platforms. That’s why running trains punctually is so crucial in a city like Mumbai,” he said.
He also suggested that the railway administration should announce the train arrivals well ahead of time to prevent commuters from accumulating on the foot overbridges.
“Unsure of which platform a particular fast train will be assigned, commuters often wait on the bridge till the final announcement. If the railways clearly indicates the platform well ahead of time and avoid last-minute rescheduling, commuters will be reassured and know exactly which platform to go to. Foot overbridges are for walking and should not be crowded,” he explained.
The workshop was organised by Central Railway to train the officers and supervisors involved in crowd control.
Preparing for monsoon
According to a senior official, the Central Railway decided to hire 110 home guards, particularly for crowd control during monsoon. Apart from that, 259 Maharashtra Security Force jawans and 220 Railway Protection Force and Railway Protection Special Force have been deployed as quick response teams by Central Railway at different stations. Thirteen foot overbridges have been identified are critical and adequate staff has been deployed to monitor them.
Mock drills were conducted at Dadar, Parel, Currey Road, Chinchpokli, Ghatkopar and Kurla for rehearsals.
• Important announcements should always get precedence on the public address system
• Special measures such as keeping the entries and exits clear should be taken for smoother movement of crowd
• The problem of slippery platforms and foot overbridges should also be addressed.
• The railways should have a proper evacuation plan in place
• Railway staff engaged in crowd control should be given special uniforms so that commuters can identify and approach them for help
• The CCTVs should be manned by trained personnel who can alert rail officials when crowd accumulation occurs
• The railways should avoid changing platforms for incoming trains at the last minute
Reference : https://mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/mumbai/other/crowd-control-at-stations-cut-the-chatter-to-keep-stations-safe/articleshow/64501315.cms?utm_source=mumbaimirror&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_campaign=referral