The All-India Station Masters’ Association (AISMA) held a meeting on Wednesday about the unprecedented event when the electronic interlocking (EI) cabin at the Bengaluru City Railway Station was left unattended on Tuesday leaving several trains rudderless.
Three stationmasters at the cabin, located at the station, a “nerve centre” working 24/7 to manage movement of trains and communication, were forced to join a protest organised by the South Western Railway Mazdoor Union (SWRMU).
The union was protesting against the arrest of A.R. Panduranga, a staff member, for alleged irregularities in auction of unclaimed two-wheelers in the station.
AISMA members passed a resolution, to be communicated to the Railway Board, stating that the members condemned the staff member’s “victimisation” and the officials for not ensuring Mr. Panduranga’s release. But it said that they disapproved of the way the protest was carried out, inconveniencing passengers and the administration.
B. Manoj, Divisional Secretary, AISMA, said, “The protesters’ entry into the EI was nothing short of hooliganism”. Stationmasters are also worried about the “sanctity” of their work and have demanded protection at the workplace. They said no unauthorised persons, including railway employees, should be allowed inside the cabin.
According to loco pilots, someone with no knowledge of the panel cannot meddle with it. But if someone with partial knowledge takes over, it can be “very dangerous”. hyamananda Sagar, general secretary, AISMA, said, “We were unfortunately dragged into the protest”.
Meanwhile, K.V. Raghavendra, divisional secretary, SWRMU, SWR, Bengaluru division, said what the stationmasters had said was “untrue” and “baseless charges”. He wondered how the absence of a few stationmasters could halt the movement of trains.
‘No unauthorised persons, including railway employees, should be allowed inside the electronic interlocking cabin’