Wednesday, February 24, 2016

By Suchith Kidiyoor, Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Feb 18, 2016, 

Operating a classy metro train seems like a boyhood dream come true. But loco-pilots or train operators are quitting to either move back to their villages or taking up jobs with other institutions, including the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation. More than 25 train operators in Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) have quit in the past two to three months.

In one case, a train operator moved out by paying a penalty of Rs 3 lakh for breaching his agreement with BMRCL. The spate of resignations has forced Metro authorities to rethink their recruitment plan, and they are likely to increase their intake by 5 to 10 per cent more than the estimated requirement.

A BMRCL official said, "Train operators are very young. Obviously they will find better jobs or ones that meet their requirement. We cannot stop them, but we make sure they fulfil the conditions in the agreement."

The official said the attrition has made no impact on ongoing operations of Namma Metro on three reaches including M G Road to Baiyappanahalli, Nagasandra to Sampige Road, and Magadi Road to Nayandahalli on Mysore Road. "We have the required number of train operators to cover all stations under Phase 1. Moreover, in the market, thousands of people are ready to work with the BMRCL."

He said their last recruitment drive was proof of this. "Over 45,000 people had applied for 400-odd vacancies," said the official. Currently, the BMRCL has 292 train operators, of whom 51 are women.

When asked about the reasons for quitting, the official said, "A majority come from rural backgrounds. Some of those who quit told us they would like to go back to their villages, and work there. "

The basic salary of a train operator is Rs 14,000, which goes up to Rs 32,000 after adding HRA, DA and other allowances. Operators are taken on a three-year contract. If they wish to leave before their contract ends, they are required to pay the money spent on their training. Operators are trained by an institution which functions out of Baiyappanahalli metro station.

Loco-pilots or train operators undergo various levels of training before they are sent to operate trains on the main lane. During the course of the training, it is mandatory for an operator to drive the train for 400 km.


» Only the loco pilot is allowed inside the cabin of a metro train. Train operators are not allowed to carry smartphones or any other gadgets with them once they get inside the cabin. Officials say it will lead to distractions. They are also subjected to various tests before they get into the cabin including an alcometer test to check for alcohol level. 

» A local pilot operates a train for a period of eight hours; every two hours, they get a break for coffee, tea or snacks. The BMRCL has also provided them rooms for relaxation. 

» Operating a metro train calls for attention, as they do multi-tasking. They are in constant touch with the control room officials and keep a vigilant eye on the third rail system; even if they find a single object there, they immediately report it to the control room. Operators are extra cautious when the trains stops at metro stations to make sure that passengers alight or board the train promptly.


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