Rock pierces through roof of 2 coaches, railway orders probe.
Mumbai: The Central Railways has sought to secure the Lonavla-Monkey Hill section with almost 40-plus special blocks, but according to sources, a boulder weighing almost 1,000 kg smashed on to a running train from a height of 150 metres on Monday. The boulder splintered into pieces, of which two pierced through the roof of the Hubli Express, injuring three passengers. The incident took place at 5.15 on Monday morning.
The boulder block, as it is known in railway lingo, is a special block given in the 28 km Karjat-Panvel section pre- and during monsoon.
During these blocks, the gangmen tap/knock on each boulder and remove those that are loose voluntarily as a precautionary method.
In fact, this process of elimination has been conducted more than 40 times by CR this season, but the incident on Monday has raised a red flag, an official said.
“The incident has become a cause of concern as despite the fact that this year we have made almost double the number of boulder blocks than last year,” the official said. There is an alternative theory that these extra blocks are one of the reasons that the boulder came loose. The official further added, “In an effort to be sure that the section was safe, we sent the gangmen with rods to tap on the boulders more than we should have. There is a perfect example of how much we should use this technology as it might lead to more harm than good.”
The three passengers who were injured were father-son duo Hasansaab Belavanki (59) and Asif Belavanki (25) and Shiv Prasad (27). Asif Belavanki, who was sleeping on the top berth in coach S4, saw a part of the boulder pierce through the roof above him. He said, “I just heard a loud crash and I was hit on the side of my head, upper back and shoulder.” The incident cut a hole in the roof of S4 and S6 coaches.
CR chief PRO Sunil Udassi said, “We have made sure that the injured were taken to the hospital as soon as they could. We did not wait for any rescue at the accident spot but took the train to Karjat as these ghats are not easily accessible.”