Wednesday, October 28, 2009





Thursday, October 22, 2009

22 killed in train smash near Mathura
K. Balchand
Mewar Express bears the brunt, Goa Express drivers suspended

RESCUE EFFORT: Army and police personnel shifting a woman injured in the accident involving the Goa Express and the Mewar Express near Mathura on Wednesday. (Right) Twelve-year-old Ashish Sharma being rescued from one of the compartments. His mother died in the accident.
MATHURA/NEW DELHI: At least 22 persons were killed and 26 injured when the Goa Express rammed the Mewar Express at Banjana on the Mathura-Vrindavan section of the Northern Railway in Uttar Pradesh early on Wednesday.
Even as the Udaipur-Nizamuddin Mewar Express resumed its journey after an eight-minute halt following chain pulling, the Goa Express, also bound for Nizamuddin from Vasco Da Gama, rammed it from behind with full force. In the fateful 15 minutes, either the Goa Express did not heed the signal at Banjana or the signal itself failed, it is said. (A Lucknow report, quoting Agra divisional manager R.K. Tripathi, said the Goa Express driver missed the signal.)
The rear coach of the Mewar Express bore the brunt of the collision. Two coaches went off the rails. The casualties occurred mostly aboard the Mewar Express, with 19 passengers and guard S.K. Puri killed. In the other train, two persons were killed in the pantry car. It was not immediately known whether they were railway staff or passengers.
Several of the injured succumbed to their injuries in hospital. The condition of 13 others was said to be serious. Most of the injured have since been shifted to Delhi.
The rescue operations, launched by locals, gained momentum with the arrival of police. The Army unit at Mathura — comprising electrical and mechanical engineers and a medical corps — was involved in the rescue work along with railway teams which arrived from Agra and Delhi.
After the two damaged bogies were detached, the Mewar Express reached Delhi at 12.45 p.m. Arrangements were made to transport passengers of the Goa Express to either Mathura or Delhi.
The rail lines were restored by 2 p.m. and railway authorities claimed that traffic was normal.
Goa Express driver R.K. Chaturvedi and assistant driver Laxmi Kant were placed under suspension and taken off duty, pending completion of an enquiry to be held by P.K. Vajpayee, Commissioner of Railway Safety, North Eastern Circle (Civil Aviation Department), Lucknow.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who ordered the enquiry, expressed her condolences to the bereaved. She announced an ex gratia of Rs. 5 lakh to the families of each of the deceased, Rs. 1 lakh each to the critically injured, and Rs.10,000 to those with simple injuries.
Minister of State for Railways E. Ahamed supervised the rescue operations.
Chain pulling to blame?
Raktima Bose reports from Kolkata:
Speaking to journalists in Kolkata, Ms. Banerjee said a report that chain pulling might have caused the accident was being investigated..
“I have received the prima facie report. There is a mention of an incident of chainpulling but whether that caused the accident or not cannot be said right now.” A safety committee meeting would be held on Thursday.
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Mamata to seek CBI enquiry



PTI
First Published : 22 Oct 2009 11:05:00 AM IST

MATHURA: With conflicting reports on the cause of the train accident near here, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has decided to go for a CBI enquiry into the mishap.
"Realising the gravity of the accident, I have decided that it is better to go for a CBI probe," Bannerjee told reporters last night during a visit to the site of the accident involving Goa Samparkranti Express and Mewar Express.
Twenty-two people were killed and as many injured in the accident yesterday.
She said, "Many questions have cropped up. Somebody is saying that chain-pulling was the reason for the accident and others say there was a problem in the signal. It may be a case of criminal offence also. So, I have decided that we must hand over the case to CBI."
The Railway Minister said if any criminal offence has been committed by anyone, there has to be stringent action against them and "hence we will hand over the case to the CBI".
"We are for examining all issues. It was a very bad incident. We want to ensure punishment to all the guilty," Banerjee said.
Police has registered a case against unnamed persons after it emerged that the Mewar Express had come to a sudden halt because of alleged chain-pulling before it was hit from behind by the Goa Express.
Banerjee said the Railway Ministry would bear all the expenses for the treatment of the injured.
She thanked the Army, local police and the villagers for extending help to the accident victims.
She said the Committee on Railway Safety will meet within 15 days and discuss all issues related to safety. "We will do whatever is possible to ensure safety."
She visited the Maheswari Hospital in Mathura where the injured were undergoing treatment.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thai railway union threatens to shut down main terminal
BANGKOK, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's railway labour union members threatened Monday morning to close the country's principal railway terminal, the Hualampong station in Bangkok, on Monday afternoon if the responsible officials refuse to negotiate, the Thai News Agency reported.
The threat came after a four-consecutive-day suspension of southern local train services, as part of the railway unionists strike that left more than 4,000 passengers stranded at the Surat Thani station in southern Thailand.
The Hualampong station carries not only thousands of international tourists to all parts of the country, but also is a conduit for thousands of Bangkok civil servants and office workers who commute to the capital daily.
Union workers from the State Railways of Thailand (SRT) said many locomotives did not meet safety standards and did not pass inspection but SRT engineers denied this claim. Calling for repairs on at least seven locomotives on a priority basis while major maintenance for more than a dozen others, the union said drivers would stay off the work until the locomotives were safe to drive again.
Minister of Transport Sophon Zarum Monday morning said that the ministry will try to end this situation "within one to two days," and urged the union to resume full rail services as SRT managers are ready to talk to resolve the problems.
The absence of drivers and engineers in the south has affected 36 trains, but the SRT is replacing them with drivers and engineers from headquarters in Bangkok, according to the transport minister.
Southern route rail services remain in disarray as all local services were suspended.
Sophon said he will propose a plan to solve the overall problems in the SRT to the Cabinet on Tuesday, including human resources, properties and aging locomotives.
Meanwhile, SRT executives meeting Monday morning resolved to set up a committee to study the problem, and directed the SRT legal section to file charges against workers who were absent without justifiable grounds who caused troubles to passengers and the SRT organisation.
Sophon said 241 out of the 2,200 train staff all over the country had taken leave. The SRT had suffered a loss of 10 million baht in revenue from the suspension of passenger trains and six million baht from suspension of freight trains

www.chinaview.cn

4,000 stranded in rail chaos
Passengers furious as union calls more strikes
• Published: 19/10/2009 at 12:00 AM
More than 4,000 passengers have been stranded at Surat Thani station after drivers of eight South-bound trains walked off the job, aggravating woes from crippling union stoppages.

Passengers sit on the platform beside the Bangkok-Kantang train after the driver left his post at Lamae station in Chumphon. Vans and buses were later provided by the SRT to take passengers to their destinations.
The latest action came as Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva insisted a major overhaul of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) might be in order and the SRT board said it was planning an urgent meeting in coming days to discuss the problem.
Eight long-haul trains from Bangkok to Yala, Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat ground to a halt unannounced yesterday at Surat Thani station.
Confused and angry passengers, including foreign tourists, demanded an explanation only to be told by the station public relations officer that the train drivers had left their posts. The announcement was greeted with boos and jeers. Vans and buses were arranged to take the passengers to their destinations.
The driver of the Bangkok-Kantang train also walked off the job yesterday at Lamae station in Chumphon, stranding more than 1,000 passengers.There were scenes of chaos as people pushed and shoved to use the toilets. Stranded passengers were not given any food or drink.
Three passengers filed complaints with the district police in Surat Thani seeking damages of an unspecified amount from the SRT.

A sign is posted at Hua Lamphong station announcing the suspension of many South-bound trains. The cancellation of the services was caused by train drivers stopping work. KOSOL NAKACHOL
The railway union insisted drivers would stay off the job until the locomotives were safe to drive again.
It said the system which applies the brakes automatically in emergencies was faulty in many locomotives.
Union leader Sawit Kaeowan yesterday said passenger safety was the top priority and members of the union would not go back to work until the faulty locomotives were fixed. He said the length of the repairs depended on how quickly the spare parts could be delivered.
Drivers have handed in leave letters which they hope can save them from disciplinary action.
SRT chief engineer Krit Salongchaithawat said 55 mechanics and train drivers at Pak Nam Pho station in Nakhon Sawan and 76 at Hat Yai station had taken leave yesterday.The union said too many train engines were poorly maintained and did not pass inspection but SRT engineers say these claims are false.
Meanwhile, Mr Abhisit said the SRT needed an all-round shake-up. A major organisational reform would be put in place if necessary. Land Transport Department director-general Chairat Sanguansue and a member of the SRT board, said the board would schedule an urgent meeting to resolve the problem in the next few days.
"These workers should think hard about the organisation that feeds them," he said..


TRAIN STRIKE
Sohpon requests more rail staff
Extra drivers needed to break deadlock
• Published: 20/10/2009 at 12:00 AM
The Transport Ministry is seeking cabinet approval to recruit more rail staff to ease the shortage caused by drivers who have walked off the job.
Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum yesterday said his ministry would ask the cabinet today to consider relaxing a July 28 cabinet resolution imposing a headcount freeze on the number of state employees.
If approved, the proposal would pave the way for the recruitment of 171 new staff to stand in for train drivers who are out on strike, disrupting train services and stranding thousands of passengers, particularly in the South.
Mr Sohpon has signed an order appointing four committees to look into the problems besetting the State Railway of Thailand.
SRT governor Yutthana Thapcharoen said 241 rail staff requested leave yesterday. About 30 south-bound trains were held up.
The strike has cost the SRT 16.5 million baht over the past three days.
This includes 10.5 million baht in passenger fares and 6 million baht from lost freight rates.
Also on this story:
- Businesses call for ban on union
- Korn says strikes could harm the economy
- Post Editorial: Trains halt, people suffer
Mr Yutthana said new staff standing in for train drivers who have walked off the job would include mechanics who have received training from the railway technical school.
Mechanics with at least seven years of work experience would also be promoted to train drivers, said the SRT governor.
Mr Sohpon and the SRT governor yesterday travelled to Songkhla to inspect the repair and maintenance of trains at Hat Yai railway station. They were heckled by more than 100 union members and Mr Sohpon had to cancel a planned meeting with local SRT executives.
Land Transport Department director-general Chairat Sa-nguanchue, who sits on the SRT board, said the board would consider appointing a panel to investigate if the leave taken by railway staff was politically motivated. The panel would comprise representatives from the Office of the Attorney-General, Mr Chairat said.
Soythip Traisuthi, director-general of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning and an SRT board member, said about 28 train drivers who retired from service on Sept 30 had offered to fill in for drivers out on strike.
Mrs Soythip said SRT board chairman Thawalrat Ornsira would sign an order allowing the former staff to return to work temporarily, effective today.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has insisted that SRT staff who have caused damage by going on strike must be held responsible for their actions.
He was speaking after reports that the rail union had demanded railway workers who had stopped work be spared punishment.
"We cannot yield to the demands," the prime minister said.
"If they are in the wrong, they must be held responsible. Workers and the union cannot leave work just on a whim."
In Hat Yai yesterday, south-bound trains were out of action for a fourth day. All local trains were halted while a few long-haul trains from Bangkok to the South were running but only as far as Surat Thani station.
The Hat Yai railway union yesterday insisted that trains would remain out of action until SRT executives came up with clear measures to repair and maintain locomotives.
Wirat Chantharat, chief of the SRT's legal investigation division, yesterday filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division seeking legal action against railway staff who stop work and affect passengers.
Mr Wirat said the work stoppage had caused damage estimated at about 15 million baht a day. He said companies that use rail freight services would also sue for damages.
Relate Search: Train strike, SRT, State Railway of Thailand

Monday, October 12, 2009






Due to security reasons since some Sikh Festival at New Delhi, The proposed Hunger Fast is Postponed to 25& 26 of November and CWC 26 &27 of November.Zones and Divisions must ensure that reservations to be changed accordingly. The Zonal Quota of Rs 5000/- and Membership to be remitted by the Zones.

Monday, October 5, 2009

To

The Editor,


Respected Sir,

Entire Loco Pilots of Indian Railway observe Fast for 24 hours from 00.00 Hrs of 08.10.2009 to 00.00 Hrs of 09.10.2009 nation wide and sit in Fast before the Parliament on 24th November, 2009.
This Association gave call to the entire Loco Pilots (Train Drivers) of Indian Railway to observe 24 Hrs Fast from 00.00 Hrs on 08.09.2009 whether they are working train or off duty. They will also sit in hunger fast in front of all major Rly stations
This Association was forced to take these extreme steps, in protest against the apathy shown by the Ministry of Railways towards their following demands.
A) Cancel the Order asking to work for 13 hours by the loco pilot and reduce the duty hours to 8 hours . Appoint judicial committee to review working conditions.
B) Calculate their allowance with the TA rate of Rs. 340/- instead of the arbitrary figure of Rs. 210/-.
C) Pay be raised at par with the responsibility attached to the post of Asst. Loco Pilot and they may not be treated in par with the lowest post in the Central Government service.
D) Different and distinct Pay be allowed to Loco Pilots manning Goods trains, Passenger trains and Super fast / High speed Express trains.

We had several trade union programs for the past two years to call the attention of the Ministry of Railways and the Government of India on our grievances, but nothing moved. We put up our grievances before about 400 Hon’ Members of Parliament. They were pleased to call the attention of Hon’ Minister of Railways, Smt. Mamta Banerjee and some of them raised the issue in both the houses.
After the Fast on 08th October 2009, we decided to sit in Fast in front of the Parliament on 24th November 2009. If all these peaceful programs do not persuade the Ministry of Railways to concede our demands, we have no other option other than to enter into a NATION-WIDE STRIKE. We earnestly request your whole hearted support in our plight.
From the introduction of the 6th Pay Commission this Union demanded to relook on the recommendation pertaining to the Pay allowed to the Loco Pilots. It is our view that the Pay recommended by the 6th CPC to Loco Pilots, especially the Assistant Loco Pilots not commensurate to the responsibility attached to the post.


The 6th CPC recommended a pay band which starts at Rs. 5200/- with a Grade pay of Rs. 1800/- for the lowest post in the Central Government service. For this lowest post a pass in matriculation with no other special skill are prescribed. Where as the Asst. Loco Pilots are given with a mere Rs. 100/- addition in the Grade Pay. Their entry Qualification is ITI, preferably Diploma in Engineering. Passing of a stringent psychological test, 10 months training in Train operations and a high medical standard equal to the Airline Pilots. Before the 6th CPC the difference existed between the lowest post and of the Asst. Loco Pilots was around Rs. 1500/- in monthly wages. The vertical and horizontal relativity of Pay has been totally smashed.
The same position now exists among the Loco Pilots, who works exclusively in Superfast and Express trains including Rajadhani, Shatabdi, Thurendu and of newly posted Loco Pilots in Goods trains. They are fitted in the same Grade Pay. The entire Loco Pilots in Express / Superfast train who got promotion after putting 15 to 20 years service with vast experience in operating trains feel they are being let down. World wide the high speed train drivers are placed in higher Pay considering their high skill, experience and the highest responsibility to operate these trains safely.
Besides these two grievances, the out of pocket expenditure incurred in the course of employment outside their normal posting area, they are being paid a TA rate which was raised to Rs. 340/- per day to the entire Govt. employees. But in case of Loco Pilots it was fixed at Rs. 210/- by the Ministry of Railways. This is abject discrimination, exploitation and against all cannon of justice. The Government of India decides one but the Railway Board decides another, in the matter of allowance as they are not under the Government of India or they have no binding on the Government policies.
Added to these disparities in Pay, their duty hours, weekly rest are also too bad than any other Government employee. In Central Government 5 days week has been introduced. But in the case of Loco Pilots they have to work train all the 365 days in an year. In the name of weekly rest, any break between duties if exceeds 22 hours is treated as a weekly rest.
Duty hours are fixed at 6 to 8 hours a day internationally, way back in 1919 by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Government of India was also a signatory to it. This was implemented in India for private employees also. But the duty hours of Loco Pilots is fixed at 13 hours by the Railway Board, as if they are not bound to the constitution of India, nor with the Government policies.



On 13th August 1973 the Government of India announced in GParliament that Loco Running staff need not work more than 10 ohours at a stretch. This solemn assurance, which was placed before this country through the Parliament not been honoured by the Railway Board even after passing 36 years.
The ‘Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railway Safety’ rightly pointed out this adamancy of Railway Board not to heed with Government policy and recommended not to exact work from Loco Pilots more than 8 hours to ensure safety of traveling public and for public good. On 14th FEB 2006 government of India assured that Ministry of Rlys will appoint a judicial committee to limit the duty Hrs to 8Hrs and to review other working conditions.

This association earnestly request your whole hearted support for achieving the above most genuine demands.






Ernakulam, L. MONY,
03.10.2009. Central President / AILRSA
PASSENGERS..
YOUR KIND ATTENTION PLEASE!
DON’T TAKE RISK ON YOUR LIFE BY TRAVELLING ON
8TH OCTOBER 2009.

We are the Loco Pilots- driving the trains, taking you the destinations safely through out the year – 24 hrs & 365 days. Life of 1200 – 2000 passengers in our hands – we safe guards them. When you sleep in the sleepers in the night, we drive the train safely with out a wink. We don’t enjoy any festivals or Holidays. We don’t have Sundays or calendar day rests. We don’t have Tiffin breaks or lunch breaks. Leaving our families at home, we work and go to outstations for 3 or 4 days. We, the safety category, work 6 night duties continuously when all others work only 3 nights maximum. We are working in all sorts of adverse health conditions like loud sound, dust, smoke, induction etc. We work in all sorts of climatic conditions-rain or clear sun, summer or winter, hot or cold, day or night……… But still our work fetches Rs.12000 crores to 20000 crores profit to the Railways & Nation; still we work honestly & take you safely, punctually to the destinations.

When a pay commission comes out with their recommendations, every employee will be happy to see the better pay structures & pay. But dear passengers, do you know what “The Callous 6th pay commission & Railway administration did to us ?!!!! They reduced our grade pays; they reduced our allowances – which are the only compensations for us for this hard working. In a relentless manner (mannerism indeed) they changed the mileage allowance formula itself.

The stoicism can not be prolonged; we adopt our great Mahatma’s way of protest – 24 hrs hunger fast during working on 8th October. The Railway Administration may hoodwink you, please don’t hear them. These allowances are the solatium for our hard and honest work.

The Airline Pilots who take the risk of 300-500 passengers on-board; whose duty is confined only for take off and landing. They are paid lakhs together. We take the risk of 1000-2000 passengers in a train. But we ask mere bread pieces only- The legitimate allowances, according to the existing formula. The protest is for that. So kindly co-operate with us.

During the duty we have to give continuous vigilance (sustained attention). A boulder fallen on the rail, a tree uprooted on the track, a rail fracture/weld cut, a heavy lorry suddenly crossing the track ignoring all rules….. Any thing may make an ACCIDENT any time. When we are in the FASTING the vigilance will SLOW DOWN, the lethargy may make us FAINT. The result may be an ACCIDENT.

SO KINDLY DON’T TAKE RISK ON YOUR LIFE BY TRAVELLING ON 8TH OCTOBER. PLEASE AVOID TRAVELLING ON THIS DAY.

Kindly Co- operate.

ALL INDIA LOCO RUNNING STAFF ASSOCIATION
South Western Railway Zone.
PASSENGERS..
YOUR KIND ATTENTION PLEASE!
DON’T TAKE RISK ON YOUR LIFE BY TRAVELLING ON
8TH OCTOBER 2009.

We are the Loco Pilots- driving the trains, taking you the destinations safely through out the year – 24 hrs & 365 days. Life of 1200 – 2000 passengers in our hands – we safe guards them. When you sleep in the sleepers in the night, we drive the train safely with out a wink. We don’t enjoy any festivals or Holidays. We don’t have Sundays or calendar day rests. We don’t have Tiffin breaks or lunch breaks. Leaving our families at home, we work and go to outstations for 3 or 4 days. We, the safety category, work 6 night duties continuously when all others work only 3 nights maximum. We are working in all sorts of adverse health conditions like loud sound, dust, smoke, induction etc. We work in all sorts of climatic conditions-rain or clear sun, summer or winter, hot or cold, day or night……… But still our work fetches Rs.12000 crores to 20000 crores profit to the Railways & Nation; still we work honestly & take you safely, punctually to the destinations.

When a pay commission comes out with their recommendations, every employee will be happy to see the better pay structures & pay. But dear passengers, do you know what “The Callous 6th pay commission & Railway administration did to us ?!!!! They reduced our grade pays; they reduced our allowances – which are the only compensations for us for this hard working. In a relentless manner (mannerism indeed) they changed the mileage allowance formula itself.

The stoicism can not be prolonged; we adopt our great Mahatma’s way of protest – 24 hrs hunger fast during working on 8th October. The Railway Administration may hoodwink you, please don’t hear them. These allowances are the solatium for our hard and honest work.

The Airline Pilots who take the risk of 300-500 passengers on-board; whose duty is confined only for take off and landing. They are paid lakhs together. We take the risk of 1000-2000 passengers in a train. But we ask mere bread pieces only- The legitimate allowances, according to the existing formula. The protest is for that. So kindly co-operate with us.

During the duty we have to give continuous vigilance (sustained attention). A boulder fallen on the rail, a tree uprooted on the track, a rail fracture/weld cut, a heavy lorry suddenly crossing the track ignoring all rules….. Any thing may make an ACCIDENT any time. When we are in the FASTING the vigilance will SLOW DOWN, the lethargy may make us FAINT. The result may be an ACCIDENT.

SO KINDLY DON’T TAKE RISK ON YOUR LIFE BY TRAVELLING ON 8TH OCTOBER. PLEASE AVOID TRAVELLING ON THIS DAY.

Kindly Co- operate.

ALL INDIA LOCO RUNNING STAFF ASSOCIATION
South Western Railway Zone.

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