A novel initiative by the Mysuru division has the potential to ensure better preparedness by the Indian Railways to enhance passenger safety by ramping up measures in the vulnerable sections, including ghats and mountainous terrains across the country.
The Mysuru division recently completed an aerial survey of the ghat section between Sakleshpur and Subramanya using drones in view of the monsoon.
“Though the use of drones is common, it was deployed for the first time by the Indian Railways for the survey,” said Atul Gupta, Divisional Railway Manager, Mysuru division.
He told The Hindu that the concept evolved during their preparatory meeting, and since drones were used even for taking aerial shots by wedding photographers, one of them was commissioned for the task and it was completed in two days.
“The general practice is to go on a foot patrol or use the trolley but with drones and aerial footage we get a better perspective and we were able to identify areas where waterlogging was taking place, where landslides or landslips were imminent due to loose soil etc. and could take precautionary measures,” said Mr. Gupta.
The drone deployed by the authorities provided them an aerial perspective by way of a high resolution video of nearly two hours which was closely studied and gave the Railway authorities better perspective to act.
“It normally takes about a week of intensive ground and track patrolling to complete the work on this section but the drone survey was completed in two days and it provided a better perspective and view which was otherwise not possible. Besides it is cost effective, costing us only Rs. 10,000,” Mr. Gupta said.
It is customary for the zonal and divisional railways to take precautionary measures as part of the annual monsoon preparedness for which there is inspection of waterbodies, canals and reservoirs close to the railway tracks, identification of vulnerable sections based on local history of landslips, tree or boulders falling on tracks, identifying them and deputing personnel to take suitable action or closely monitor them.