Saturday, April 2, 2016

By S Lalitha  The New Indian Express 31st March 2016 

With the Kochi Metro set for its first run on November 1, its staff have been sent here for training  Nagesh Polali

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BENGALURU: Exposure to sophisticated technology is combining with the novelty of a Bengaluru visit to make 67 trainees from Kochi enjoy their days at the Bangalore Metro Rail Training Institute. 

With the Kochi Metro set for its first run on November 1, staff from the Kerala city have been sent to Namma Metro for training.

The world-class facilities at this five-year-old centre — on a sprawling campus near the Baiyappanahalli station — include an imported, sophisticated simulator.

Bengaluru has the potential to evolve into a major training hub in the near future. “We are indeed looking at emerging as a hub of manpower for metros in India and abroad,” said Principal K L Mohan Rao.

A total of 1,600 employees have already received training here since its inception in 2011. Of them, 350 are from Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi. The rest work for the Bengaluru Metro.

The present batch is the first, and training will gradually cover 210 employees, selected from 90,000 applicants for the Kochi Metro.

“While a diploma in any engineering branch is the minimum criterion, we have many B Tech graduates who have opted to join the Metro, a pointer that it is a much sought-after career,” he said.

Switch from Railways

Railway loco-pilots and personnel who have opted out of the Armed Services are also part of the batch, alongside freshers from college. 

Jayalal, who quit his job as an assistant loco-pilot in the Railways to take up this post, said, “The fewer working hours made me opt for the Metro.”

Hima S, one of the 13 women undergoing training, was also a railway loco-pilot before she joined the Metro. “I faced strong objection from my family for giving up a Central government job. But I am really more comfortable here,” she said.

Her colleague Remya K V says the “desire to be different” motivated her. “Unlike banking or teaching, considered traditional jobs for women, steering a train is so different,” she said.

Many women trainees said they were “filled with great pride” when people looked at them in awe.

The opportunity to spend three months in the city makes the experience exciting for E R Ranjith. This opinion was seconded by many of his mates.

Apart from the excitement, the starting salary of Rs 35,000 a month makes this a good career option. The training programme makes financial sense for BMRCL, which is not making any profits from its train operations now. The institute earns about Rs 3 crore by training 210 loco pilots and station controllers.

What’s It Like?

K N Rajesh, in charge of the simulator, put an Express reporter and photographer through the experience of steering a Metro train. The training, which takes place inside a simulated driver’s cabin, anticipates situations like poor visibility, a person suddenly crossing the tracks, and a train approaching head-on, and is truly thrilling.

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