Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rly retains marshalling yard

The Ernakulam goods marshalling yard  —DC
The Ernakulam goods marshalling yard —DC
Now it’s official. The Railways has reverted its decision to shut down the only wagon depot in the state – the Ernakulam goods marshalling yard. The first goods train rolled into the yard last Friday after nearly five months.
The issue was brought out by this newspaper on March 31, under the headline, “Goods train yard to get shunted out”.
It revealed the Railways’ plan to shift issuance of compulsory Break Power Certificate (fitness certificate) to goods trains from Erode as part of a larger game plan to finally close down the yard.
The report was based on a circular issued by the chief operating manager, Chennai, on February 16, stating that the activity at the marshalling yard was being cut down.
“On April 26, the goods yard received two formations, the next day one more and another, today. The mechanical staff, numbering around 60, who had been temporarily deployed to other departments, were brought back,” an official said.
A section of railway employees led by SRMU general secretary N.Kannaiyya and divisional secretary Gopikrishnan personally visited the chief mechanical engineer, Chennai, with the DC report.
“CME S.K.Sukud was convinced about the unwise step. The report also pinned the divisional officer’s claim that the yard was not profitable as it had clearly mentioned that the combined wagon clearance and demurrage charges for July, August and September last year stood at a whopping Rs1 crore,”, K.P.Ayyappan Nair, SRMU branch secretary, said.
Following this, orders were handed out to the divisional operating manager, to revert the decision.
Safety: Did railways compromise?
Did the railways compromise on safety in its attempt to close down the Ernakulam goods marshalling yard?
After a circular was issued on February 15, on cutting down the activity at the marshalling yard at Ernakulam, most of the goods trains running on the section obtained the Break Point Certificate (fitness certificate) from Erode.
However, for those goods trains whose BPC validity period (usually issued for 12-13 days) ends upon reaching the state, top divisional officials had reportedly directed their return without getting the certificate.
“In such a case the only option was to get BPC from the Ernakulam goods yard, but the officials didn’t want that to happen as it meant recommencing operations at the yard intended to be closed down.
Then they instructed the trains to return without the fitness certificate, violating railway rules,” an official said.
The issue was out last week, when the Palakkad division refused to receive two of the goods trains returning back without the BPC.
“One was heading to Salem market and the second one was ‘SNAG’. The Palakkad division refused entry without the mandatory BPC on Thursday.
Finally, one of the trains was made to return from Thrissur and the other from Vallathol Nagar to Ernakulam and obtain the BPC,” he said.
Another charge was that in the same way, oil tankers are being given fitness certificates from the Irumbanam yard without the vehicles undergoing the mandatory tests.

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