Monday, November 2, 2015

TO

Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu,

Hon’ble Minister for Railways,

Govt. of India, New Delhi.

    Through Divisional Railway Manager........................



Sir,

Sub:- Grievances of the Loco Running Staff of Indian Railways.


Man power is the most valuable asset of the Indian Railways. Undoubtedly the entire safety edifice of Indian Railways rests on the human element. It is also true that on an average two third of accidents are attributable to “staff failure” either directly or indirectly, despite the fact that the railway men are considered one of the finest group of dedicated and hard working employees who work more or less like army.

The Railway Safety Review Committee (Khanna Committee) has commended that “Indian Railways is still one of the most efficiently run organization in the country with a work force that has been the embodiment of relentless hard work and dedication”.

For most of the railway men running trains efficiently and safely has been a passion, vision or a religion, to the extent of being ‘fanatic’ railway operators. If they face a major disaster/ accident in their life time, it leaves an indelible scar on their psyche and they carried it with repentance and remorse for all the time to come. Necessary lessons are learnt, imbibed and transmitted to the next generation. Human lapses or railway staff failure are to be considered as an unintended mistake.

We hope you are in agreement that nothing can be more exhilarating, meaningful and priceless than the high morale of work force. Running train is not a mere transportation business or selling consumer products, to be considered purely on commercial terms. It is rather a ‘Dharma’ to be performed, oblivious of all social, political and economical upheavals. Today trains are running on close proximity than in the past, therefore the alertness of all staff especially on many of high density routes has assumed greater significance.

If the loco running staff are found negligent of any act of commission or omission which resulted in passing signal at danger, the penalty of removal or dismissal are ordinarily being imposed. During the last five years actions have been taken against 270 loco running staff and imposed with the penalty of dismissal, removal and compulsory retirement in Indian Railways.

Adherence to detailed and meticulous rules evolved over a century is the sine-quo-non for not endangering the lives of our valued passengers. The plethora of rule books underscore the pivotal role played by the most powerful and at the same time yet vulnerable assets, i.e., human being. It is universal in transport sector that mechanization and technology can never replace human element absolutely. The gradual shift from physical to mental alertness has been observed due to induction of various technologies. Like any other developing countries, Indian Railways are entering a transition phase where primitive and advanced assets are seen together.

While all efforts to modernize the Railways by pumping crores of rupees in assets, it is painful to note that the human resource development seems to be neglected by the Ministry of Railways. The improvement in the working and living conditions of the workforce invariably benefit the productivity, safety and better services. To improve the service conditions of the workers allocation of fund is a necessity. In this area the Ministry of Railways lacks direction.

The precarious condition of Loco Running Staff, as the cascading effect of the longer working hours at a stretch, unscheduled duty time, working in extreme weather condition in out door, consecutive six night duties, meager rest in between trips and inadequate weekly rest, poor condition of running rooms which is their abode for one third of their life span and un-ergonomic loco cabin make the life of loco running staff miserable. Their family and social life has been affected much adversely. To ameliorate these conditions, to study and recommend ways to mitigate them, a High Power Committee was constituted by the Ministry of Railway in the year 2011, though agreed to this in the year 2006.

After extensive study, spot analysis, interacting with higher management officials of the Railways, hearing the grievances of staff side and all stake holders, the said committee submitted its recommendations to the Ministry of Railways in August 2013.

While stating that the report is under active consideration on one plea or other, the Railway Board knowingly or unknowingly drive the staff to be restive, discontented and agitated by not accepting and implementing the recommendations of the High Power Committee to review the duty hours of running staff. For the past 10 years from 2006 to 2015 the work force patiently and silently performed their assigned duty, suffering themselves of all the hardship of the service/ working conditions.

Atleast in this belated stage the recommendations be accepted and implemented within a short time frame. It may bear in mind that the very recommendations are the child of the Ministry of Railways as all the members of the committee are Railway Officials attached to Railway Board.

This Association of the Loco Running Staff again plead before your esteemed self to look after this grievances along-with the grievances of Loco Running Staff to implement the HLSRC’s recommendation, minutes of Officers’ meeting on SPAD and grievances submitted on 04.05.2015 through a rally as it warranted.

In order to express our anguish and discontentment we are constrained to sit in “FAST” before the Ministry of Railways, New Delhi for 36 hours commencing from 14th December 2015 and also in the hope that a tangible solution will be forthcoming from your esteemed goodself with a time frame to implement the recommendations of the High Power Committee with AILRSA suggestion on Duty hours of Running Staff of Indian Railways and other grievances as referred above.


Thanking you.

Yours’ sincerely



Copy to,

Chairman

Railway Board

Rail Bhawan / New Delhi













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