: Loco pilots under the banner of All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) staged a satyagraha in front of the various railway stations under Palakkad Railway Division on Tuesday, demanding that the Railways fill the vacant posts within six months. The one-day satyagraha was staged at the Kozhikode, Palakkad , Shoranur, and Mangaluru railway stations. A.K. Ramesh, Central president, Bank Employees Federation of India, inaugurated the protest at the Kozhikode station. AILRSA branch secretary K.S. Sreeju and president T.P. Mitraprasad spoke. They said the Anil Kakodkar committee appointed by the Union Railway Ministry had recommended that Railways appoint 17,119 new loco pilots to lessen the burden of the existing staff. However, Railways had not taken any steps in this direction so far. Thus, the safety of both railway passengers and loco pilots were in jeopardy. — Staff Reporter Various courts, commissions, and human rights organisations had also recommended improving the working condition of loco pilots, they said.
P. Jagashan, divisional secretary, AILSA, said Railways should also withdraw cases against loco pilots and reinstate the leave benefits and other allowances. Loco pilots should be given at least a weekly off. Besides, their night-duty hours should be reduced, he said.
As part of their agitation, he said that the loco pilots of the Palakkad division would bring these issues to the Southern Railway General Manager in Chennai. If their problems were not resolved, they would resort to an indefinite strike from January, Mr. Jageshan said.