Wednesday, November 4, 2015

CHENNAI: Engineers working at Basin Bridge Train Care Centre here held a lunch-hour demonstration on Wednesday to protest against rundown and unhygienic working conditions at the yard where trains are inspected and certified for journey.

The demonstration was held under the banner of the Indian Railway Technical Supervisors Association (IRTSA).

In a petition submitted to the senior chief depot officer, the IRTSA said railways should repair the pit lines in the yard which are flooded with rainwater and garbage, provide infrastructure for inspecting Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches and double decker trains, fill vacancies, ensure continuous supply of spares and stop pressurising engineers to extend life of coaches instead of sending them for periodic overhaul.

An employee who took part in the protest said the yard, which handles majority of the trains operated from Chennai Central, was in a rundown condition.

"Pit lines, where undercarriage of trains are inspected, are dilapidated and poorly lit. The yard suffers 50% shortage of manpower. The condition of the yard and working conditions here will have an impact on safety as staff are not able to put their best at work. This is the reason trains look shabby," he added.

Railways cleared undergrowth and garbage which were piled up when employees staged a protest a few years ago. However, conditions remain the same. As private contractors are not coming forward to clear garbage swept and dumped from coaches, the waste is burnt inside the yard.

"The number of LHB coaches being used is going up but railways has not taken steps to have a separate inspection area for these coaches which have different dimensions when compared to conventional ICF-model coaches. But the coaches are maintained at the same pit lines. Shortage of coaches is also forcing the railway higher-ups to force engineers to certify a coach and delay its periodic maintenance," said an official.

Earlier a coach used to be taken off service and put through different inspections when it completes a 2,500km run. Now, this has been increased to 4,500km because of shortage of coaches.

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