Monday, November 9, 2009

‘PUBLIC SAFETY-SOME THOUGHTS

“We do all the steps to improve safety” “18000 crores we spent for safety”……while platitudes are coming out from the Railway Managers and the recognized unions are reticent, the real workers laugh, but people do not, due to the ignorance. Railways made a mockery department too, in the name of safety, with an intention to camouflage. It will be headed by traffic officers only. (whose intention will be to run trains only whether safety is there or not, since they belongs to traffic)

Some of our persons do fight it alone, like Mr. P.U.Venkatesan of SBC Division with an improper view and way. ( He thinks the long hood working is the only nightmare. But whether it is long hood or short hood, a loco pilot, who could not concentrate on his duty due to lack of rest or tight crew link or continuous night will make an accident)

There are primary concerns and secondary concerns for safety. For example: Effective brake power and percentage brake power are different. First one is the primary reason and next is the secondary. If the brake cylinders are working and braking takes place percentage part is over. But the effective brake power depends on brake rigging, air brake or vacuum brake….like so many things. This great point is ignored by all, and in all cases they consider the secondary concerns for safety first.

Railway brought different categories under safety category label. This is not true. Only the Loco Running staff are the real safety category staff, why because their duty is directly proportional to safety where as others duties are inversely proportional. This already I explained before, but will explain once more. If a station master sleeps on duty, the trains will stop at both ends of his station- a 100% safety. But if a Loco Pilot sleeps in his duty, the result will be an accident.

The concentration on duty which is an elaborate subject with branches and branches connected together. Rest is very very important for concentration/sustained attention, but see how unscientifically and irrationally they made an HOER, how illogically they designed and located the running rooms. The hostels of the training institutions, where safety is not of much importance, are constructed with double bedded rooms with attached bath rooms. But the running rooms where safety plays the primary role are dormitories or cubicles with common toilets. Now look at their locations. They will be constructed near to the starters/ home signals with long long whistles of trains disturbing the rest every time. Here the solution is very simple; instead of blabbering ,make the running rooms Air conditioned with double rooms. (One example of idiocy I will tell. In Dharmavaram running Room in SCR there is a cubicled room. It has 4 room air coolers. Each cooler costs Rs. 7000/-. So the total cost is Rs. 28000/- .Daily watering and mosquito repellents are a must. But all these purposes could have met with a single split AC which costs only Rs 13000/-). All the bombasts – like AC is costly, AC is a luxury, only officers should enjoy it……. Are the products of cheap jealous or puerile thinking.

Come to the next serious point – THE HOER. When it was framed?! During the steam era, when watering and coal loadings where a must, which were taking minimum 3 Hrs or more. So the explanations for continuous duty (60 minutes or more rest within the duty with a chance to leave work spot) were suiting. But this is the era of AC & Diesel locos (with more fuel tank capacity). Now our duty is not coming under the purview of ‘CONTINUOUS’. There are no periods of inaction in our duty now. While stopping also you must concentrate on signals , Rolling stock, the gauges, rolling back etc. You don’t know when the signals will be taken off. You must be prepared to start the train at any time.(a sustained attention always). But alas, still your duty is continuous. You have to work 12-13 or more hours continuously. This is detrimental to ‘PUBLIC SAFETY’ which Rly Admn. Is neglecting en-tout. ( one rumour is there in, Rly circles. Some of our highlevel officers like the ‘Accidents happen’, due to the unaccounted / unaudited money they can spent for the relief works etc)

Next thing is the continuous 6 Night duty clause. Can anybody imagine about a safetiest category person working continuous 6 nights, that too when the RDSO- Indian Railway own concern – recommends less than 3 nights. When all other staff whose duty do not link directly with public safety are enjoying night rests after 2 consecutive night duties, we the safetiest category people, whose duty is directly linked with public safety, have to work 6 continuous nights. Any wise man will bewilder when hearing this. This is nothing but a dereliction at the part of the Rly Administration which is punishable too under Indian Penal Code Section 304 (Almost 80% of the Accidents findings point out an involvement of night duty). This is nothing but ‘adding insult to injury’ attitude to the public safety.

Now come to the Loco Cab design. The heat waves inside (one must remember in this juncture that a small car costs 2-3 lakh is air conditioned). the sound ……(while talking about air conditioning again the Cliche will start coming out from them “Running staff are not eligible for AC), the congested nature of the control stands unable to keep torch, rough journal etc are examples. The long hood menace & smoke/dust pollution comes next.

So generally we can say that ‘all the things which have a direct impact on the health of the Loco Running staff (mentally or physically) are the primary concerns or points of safety and they should be rectified first. Even the welfare of the family members of the loco Running staff will have an impact on public safety.(Any adversity will create stresses in the mind of the particular LP & he cannot deliver a safe driving).

Then comes the secondary reasons. Some years back Indian Rly collected almost 18000 crores of rupees from the public as a safety surcharge. The Admn utilized the money to strengthen the bridges, modifying signals , for laying tiles in running rooms (this they think ‘most essential for safety) etc. But what is the use of all these things if the Loco pilot is not able to deliver a fool proof working due to the primary concerns of safety.

When the Rly Admn. betrays us, they cheat none other than the public & public safety. The tight & still tight crew links(in the names of COM or Rly Bd), the extended crew links, the 4 days stay at outstations, the 6 continuous nights, the long hood, the present HOER, reduction of salary allowances (it gives tremendous discontent which leads to heavy mental stress finally leading to an unsafe working ) , denial of leave, sick etc ….. All have an impact on safety & detrimental to the Public Safety. This great point is disregarded by our Rly Admn. When we strike for a better crew Link they hoodwink the public by telling that “they do it for their pleasure and everything is according to the HOER ? ! ?”

The General Manager, the HODS, the DRMS ….. all get their T A for nil traveling expenses ( Food, Stay &travel are free for them while work on lunch programs) but they are jealous on our mileage which is earned from our hard work. Our work provides them their salary, allowances and pleasures. But they are callous. The insolent ‘what I do’ , ‘WHY I do’ attitudes does not solve the problems when safety is in disaster. The damages of one major accident will be equal to the entire savings they achieved during the past years cheating the Running staff or safety. This truth everybody should understand, whether patriotic or not.
When you do any mistake administration will give you capital punishments telling the safety aspects, telling the safety and responsibility you shoulder. But when it pertains to the remuneration-which you deserve- for the risk you carry, for the safety &responsibility, for the true nature of your work- they are least bothered and adamant; they will give you the least Grade pays, they will guilefully reduce your salary & allowances. Why this double dealing, that too when your life for the Railways, for the nation.
Tail Piece: When I was waiting this another accident haunted Indian Railways killing 22 persons and injuring as much. The reason may be a long sketch of working (COM link or GM link) or a 4th or 5th or 6th night or a stressed mind due to any reason.

1 comments:

Ahmed said...

Great article. But we will have to make a dedicated website so that the public too find your content easily.
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