Monday, August 28, 2017

By S Lalitha | Express News Service | Published: 28th August 2017 

Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo | EPS)

BENGALURU: In the wake of two major train derailments taking place in four days in Uttar Pradesh, it has come to light that vacancies in the Safety department in the South Western Railway (SWR) Zone stands at 15 per cent.

The Safety department in Railways encompasses all departments engaged in the operation of trains.

Loco-pilots, track men, signalling staff, guards, Station Masters and pitline maintenance staff are frontline staff. Moreover, the SWR Zone comprises Hubballi, Mysuru and Bengaluru Railway Divisions.

Rail safety has been in the news and Railways is looking to hire at least 2 lakh workers across the country in a few years to ensure safe travel for passengers.

Deputy General Manager of SWR, E Vijaya, told Express that vacancy in the entire Zone stands at roughly 15 per cent. “Out of 21,398 sanctioned posts in the Safety category, 18, 243 staff are presently posted,” she said.

Asked about the impact this would have on safety, she said that the Zone was managing the situation with the existing staff. “We have requested the Railway Recruitment Board for more staff and by March 2018, the vacancy percentage will definitely come down,” she said.

20% vacancy in B’luru division:

A top railway official in the Bengaluru Division was more forthright. “The vacancy position is quite alarming and stands at an overall figure of 20 per cent for our (Bengaluru) Division. There are now 880 vacancies out of 6,683 sanctioned posts. All of them are directly responsible for the safety of passengers on trains,” he said.

Moreover, safety staff are yet to be posted at the newly sanctioned 167-km Yesvanptur-Hassan Line. “There are 600 vacancies in this Line alone apart from the 880 for the Division,” the official pointed out. Analysing the break up, the official said, “The vacancy position is as high as 25 per cent in both the mechanical (loco-pilots, pitline staff) and Engineering (Gangmen, Track Maintainers) sections.

He added: “The existing staff are overworked. It is tough to get leave for personal reasons. The staff are naturally stressed out and this will have a bearing on the work,” he said.

Staff diversion and corroded tracks

Even worse than the gaping vacancy position, the real problem is that of staff being utilised in other duties, the official added. “Frequent Swacch Bharat campaign events, Tree transplantation programmes, protocol duties and frequent railway inauguration events are taking a real toll on us.”

Another major issue the Division is facing is that of Corrosion of railway tracks which may cause derailments. “Much thrust has been given to laying of tracks and they are getting gradually replaced,” he added.

The one positive has been the reduction in the number of unmanned Level Crossings (LCs) in the Division, he said. “The Division has only 7 of them now, 5 in the Bangarpet-Kolar section and 2 in the Bangalore-Salem section. There were more than 100 unmanned LCs in 2010,” he said.


jazz said...

good post try to add more information
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