Wednesday, March 2, 2016

An angry mob of the Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh (CRMS) protested outside the railway offices at CST after two long distance drivers running the Latur Express were removed from service. The decision was taken by Central Railway (CR) officials since the train was running at 9 pm and could have collided with a suburban train but the union has threatened that if the decision is not reversed they will be forced to call a strike.

According to senior CR officials, the locomotive pilot G.A. Dhoble and assistant locomotive pilot A.R. Gupta were driving the train on September 28 and not only jumped the signals between CST and Dadar but also bust through crossovers which enables the suburban trains to switch tracks.

“We had to take the step because the lapse in itself is a very big one. If there was any train from the opposite direction then you can imagine the repercussions,” said the official on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile CRMS members who had assembled outside the CR division office at CST have said that the decision was made taken prematurely.

“The officials have not taken the technicalities of the matter into consideration before taking this step,” said CRMS headquarters secretary Safdar Siddique.

“It is a fact that these signals between CST and Masjid are located out of the visual range of the drivers,” he further added.

“That is, they have not been aligned in a way by which they fall right next to the tracks that tends to curve and straighten at many points,” Mr Siddique said.

“The engine of the Latur Express was a long hood one as well — which means that it adds to the obstruction of the drivers view,” he said.

Mr Siddique further added that if the decision is not reversed even after the facts have been presented they will call for a strike of the suburban trains.

“Although not running the train is our last resort since it inconveniences the city’s commuters, but if we are forced to do so, we will do that as well,” he said.

CR divisional railway commissioner Amitabh Ojha said they have asked the union to follow procedure and make the appeal to the assistant divisional railway manager who is the reversionary authority of the case.

“If the loco-pilots are unhappy with the decision then we are open to look into the matter again but they need to appeal first,” said Mr Ojha

“Also, if they are not happy after that as well there are inbuilt ways through which the matter can be taken up further by the higher authority as well,” Mr Ojha further added.

Mr Ojha refused to discuss the technical issues presented by the unions and said that it will be looked into after the loco pilots have made the appeal.

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