Thursday, February 21, 2013

DARKNESS travels towards light, but blindness towards death.
Dear Comrades,
        The number of passengers by train are increasing day by day.   Freight movements by trains are also increased very much.   The speed of trains has increased very much from 75 to 110 and 140 KMPH.   Behind all these growth there is a hard work of loco running staff.   But still the railway administration has not come forward to allow  restriction on daily working hours, continuous night duties and to provide a weekly calendar day rest.   Such inhuman attitude by railway administration is the cause for increase in accidents according to the SPAD Committee Report.

        When the assurance given by railway like “we care” and “safe journey” to passengers becomes uncertain and accident prone one need not ponder much for reasons, policy of profit, profit and more profit for railway bureaucrats to reduce the strength of staff drastically is the first reason.  But the strength of the offices have become more than double from 8,000 to 17,000 in last 15 years increasing the overhead expenses of Railways.   Since the bureaucrats are the ruling class, they are not reduce their strength to actual requirements but compensating this excess expenses by reducing the staff strength on the operating side and so there is a position of fence itself eating the yield.    In the race for privatization, the safety and cleanliness on trains are lost, bills of private contractors are passed regularly but trains are not cleaned.  When railways are outsourcing the coach maintenance, track maintenance and passenger amenities to private contractors the safety slogan of railways remains in the posters.  When railways are pulling on days stopping preventive maintenance without procuring required spare parts by allowing running over aged coaches and wagons big accidents can be expected.  The sad part is that, to view this correctly and give directions, the responsible officers in railways are on decline.
        Signal passing at danger can lead to accidents and when such signal passing were in rise on Indian  railways the railway board convened a  meeting of CME’s of all zones and derived 58 directives on SPAD prevention and gave directions to all zonal general managers for implementation.  Since general managers did not take any initiative to implement these directives, AILRSA is coming forward with agitational programs to get SPAD directives implemented to ensure safety.
        According to the directive of SPAD minutes, urgently all the Indian railway locomotive cabin should be unified with its driving equipments to maintain reflex action among all its operators.  No were in the world such a thing is done in the road vehicles by keeping clutch, accelerator and brake at different places to confuse the drivers and create accidents.  This issue proves that the RDSO has no officers with common sense even though it is a unique railway, organization for conducting research and development but surprised to see there is neither research nor development after spending crores of rupees.  The much orchestrated ACD (anti collision device) developed to prevent collision was   dumped by railways after wasting hundreds of crores rupees on it.  It is understood that the RDSO never dared to conduct a trail with ACD fitted locos on the same track from either ends at least to ensure that the engines stopped without colliding before wasting crores of rupees by installing them un-necessarily on the locomotives.  The sad part is that in spite of the suggestions on locomotive cab by AILRSA, the locomotives coming after POH from Kapurthala and GOC are still coming out in a haphazard way giving least concern for reflex action and safety.  The loco cab should be air conditioned as per one of the SPAD directive to prevent noise pollution and, dust pollution which creates fatigue to crew in few hours of working.
        AILRSA had been demanding on international norms on duty hours and rest hours and the same is one of the directives of SPAD minutes when all the colonial rules of pre-independence are amended in the parliament, railways never made any attempt to amend the HOER.
        When 90% of the railway employees are enjoying 40 hours weekly rest and national holidays the loco running staff are not getting the earmarked 30 hrs PR in the rule as a guaranteed rest & are forced to work without leave also.  The officers and clerical staff of GM/DRM office are enjoying  a two day rest in a week along with national holidays when the so called backbone of Indian railways the running staff are not able to get the meager 30 hrs rest.  The goods crew who have uncertain nature of work are forced to work anything between 50 to 70 hrs in a week.  The crew links released for pass/exp  trains are suffocating the crew with 4 to 5 continuous night  duties, 22 hours PR and 8 to 10 hrs duty in violation  of SPAD minutes.  The pass/mail crews are not allowed with time for needs break and natures call and when the crew works with these conditions SPAD happens beyond the control of the crew. AILRSA has demanded the officers who justify the crew link and working conditions to go on foot plate with any one crew for two weeks and understand their physical condition but till date no officer dared to do so and  they are all only preachers but not doers.  As far as the goods crew, eventhough two or three controllers changes for duty the duty of the goods crew will not be over.
        Recently railways have come out with a leaflet that SPAD is a social evil, a crime against humanity and it dents the image of Indian railways.  The railways have made an attempt to project that the loco pilots are willfully committing SPAD and placing them on par with the terrorists stating that it is a social evil and crime against humanity.  The central vigilance commissioner (CVC) in its website states that majority of the corruption cases filed and booked  are from bureaucrats of Indian railways and still railway bureaucrats  never thought of releasing a leaflet or poster that corruption is a social evil,  a crime against humanity and it dents the image of Indian railways.   Then the ex-G.M. Southern Railway Mr. Krithivasan was caught with 60 Crores from his overhead water tank by CBI did the image of Indian Railways get dented?

        So, AILRSA opines that the merits/demerits of each SPAD cases are to analysed before arriving at unilateral conclusions and consider it as an occupational hazard like any other employees instead of thrusting capital punishment of removal from service.   Even the Indian Penal Code gives differentiation between intentional and unintentional offences and only in the rare among the rarest the willful convicts are executed for death penalty after the mercy petition for president rejected.   So comparing the Indian Penal Code, Railway DAR is very cruel and inhuman on the loco pilots and asst. loco pilots who passed a signal at danger unintentionally and by removing him from service and blocking his livelihood without even considering his past several decades of service. Because of this cruel Railway DAR every citizen getting appointed as an ALP starts living for next 35 years with a fear of sword of Damocles always hanging over his head.

        So, to overcome SPAD the main suggestions placed by AILRSA in its memorandum should be implemented out of the 58.  Any way we are not insisting the suggestions like D2 to install low cost simulators in lobbies which will drain the railway finances.   Cadre review has to be done on basis of SPAD directives and the sanctioned strength to be increased and vacancies should be filled up so that calendar day rest, 6 hours duty, two continuous night duties and permitted percentage of leave are made available to loco running staff. 
         To press for these demands, AILRSA ..........Railway calls all the loco running staff to assemble in front of GM office ........ for a dharna on 14th March 2013.



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