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Drones on Mumbai railway tracks to boost safety (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper III)

Escalators at stations, and boundary walls along tracks have cut the death rate on Mumbai’s railways, and it will now be the turn of drones. The Western Railway is close to finalising a plan to deploy small unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor its tracks, and cut the number of train-hit deaths due to trespassing.

The data revelations
The death toll along Mumbai rail tracks was 3,304 in 2015, and 3,349 persons were injured, according to official data.

About the drone
1. The drone will keep an eye on trespassing, which cannot easily be detected, as there are no CCTV cameras at all places. 
2. Fly at 50 metres: The drone is likely to cost the railways Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per day to run. The images generated will enable security staff to reach an accident spot within minutes. Discussions are on between security and railway officials, and multiple clearances are required
3. Drone cameras can produce superior recordings. “Sometimes, there are suicides and we can save people through live feed. After getting a location, we can immediately send security staff,” said an official.



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