Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mumbai Mirror | Oct 21, 2015,    By Kamal Mishra

The latest circular issued by the Railways has strictly barred all motormen on duty from using their cellphones and have also asked the railways telecom directory to keep a record of their usage, much to the ire of the motormen.

This notification was issued on October 12 through a letter addressed to the managing director of the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) and to all zonal railway heads.

According to this, if a motorman was found using the phone while on duty, he is liable to face disciplinary action.

The motormen get a phone from the railways that use an Airtel network for a closed user group, commonly called the CUG number. The circular says that the railways will collect the call record data from these numbers to keep a strict lookout for possible flouters of this law. The circular also details how the telecom giant, Airtel, providing the CUG network to motormen, will upload the details of their bills. An itemised bill will be directly uploaded onto an intranet server, where defaulters' names will be automatically highlighted.

A number of accidents that have occurred due to the callousness of motormen distracted by their phones is the reason behind this recent crackdown. Motormen have also been strictly barred from using their personal numbers during their duty hours. They have, however, been instructed to switch on their phones during duty hours, only to make phone calls in case of any incident or mishap threatening the safety of the passengers and the train.

Motormen are not too happy with this recent development. They consider the collection of their call records a rude intervention of their privacy.

"This type of a Tughlaqi farmaan will affect motormen and their privacy. I am completely opposed to this decision. If the administration thinks that the use of mobile phone will affect passengers' safety, then why have they given CUG numbers to the motormen?" questioned Ajay Singh, general secretary, Western Railways Mazdur Sangh - a trade union of railway workers.

"Our motormen are very obedient to the rules and there is no need to give them repeated orders regarding usage of mobile phones while working," said Venu Nair, a motorman, and general secretary of Northern Railwaymen's Union, another union of workers .

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