Sunday, October 29, 2017

          The Chairman
          Railway Board,
          Rail Bhavan, New Delhi.

          (Through:Divisional Railway Manager/--------- Division,/
Sr.DMEor Sr.DEE of ………..Loco shed)

Respected Sir,
Sub: -Grievances of Loco Running staff - Reg.
This Association representing Assistant Loco Pilots and Loco pilots of Indian Railways whole heartedly welcome your goodself as our Supremo in Rail Bhavan. We submit this representation before your good office with the earnest hope that they will be actively considered with the motive of eliminating rail accidents.

1.            Implementthe report of task force on safety
          There were numerous committees in the past which conducted extensive study on the railway safety. This Association was persistently demanding implementation of their recommendations since long. This Association views the Task Force on safety as a positive approach. This committee had analyzed various safety recommendations and fixed a time table for implementation. The report was submitted to Railway Board in January 2017.
          We demand the implementation of the following vital suggestions with a prime motive to avoid accidents.

a)    Modifications in locomotives
The recommendations of taskforce on Locomotives are given in Para 10 of its report as under;
i)       If the VCD of a Loco fails, the loco should be declared dead after clearing the block section (Electrical RS and Mechanical traction directorates: one month).
ii)      All Loco cabs should be Air- conditioned. New Loco should be turned out with air conditioning and old ones should be retrofitted with in one POH cycle [Tripathy 9.75] (Electrical RS and Mechanical traction directorates: four years)
iii)     An ergonomic design for the seats of Loco Crew and Motormen should be developed with international standards and installed within next one year (Electrical RS and Mechanical traction directorates: one year)
iv)Crew friendly cab has been an ongoing exercise. All Locos that have not been provided with Crew-friendly cabs should be modified within next five years.[CSP 4.3 and 7.19] (Electrical RS and Mechanical traction directorates: five years)
v)      A final view on uniform design of Loco cabs must be taken within three months and policy directive issued. All cabs should be converted into standardized ones (with uniform safety devices like A9, SA9, Speedometer, VCD Reset Button, ALP Emergency brake switch, Hand brake, various cut out cocks etc.) within the next POH cycle.[K6.4] (Electrical RS and Mechanical traction directorates: five years).
Thus the long pending grievances of the operators (Loco pilots) about Locomotives are set to be solved within five years.But to our dismay this Association do not find any step to finalize the uniform design which have to be done by May 2017 (3 months), where as actions are in steadfast progress to install surveillance cameras in Locomotives. This is a clear indication of “Who went wrong syndrome” of chasing a victim for accidents. We demand to implement the above recommendations in a time frame and locomotives should also be provided with cab signaling as recommended by HLSRC and toilets as recommend by HPC.
b)Automatic Train Protection System
          Task Force on safety had recommended to draw a road map for introduction of ATP on Indian Railways network within six months and fixed a time table of four years for providing the same in A and B routes ( Para 22).
Lives of passengers travelling on other routes which are not classified as A and B are also equally precious and hence the ATP should be provided in the entire network. We also demand that the ATP shall not allow the Train to cross a red signal as been provided in metro rail network.
c)Signal Passing at Danger
          The recommendations to eliminate the SPAD is enlisted in Para 24 of the report, the important recommendations are as follows,
1.       SPAD should be classified according to the distance of over shooting.      Thisshould also decide the (quantum of) penalty.
2.       All new loco crew should be recruited with minimum qualification of Diploma in Engineering.
3.       Running rooms to be air-conditioned and noise proof.
4.      Loco pilots resuming from PR or Leave should be given 6 hours mandatory      rest atrunning room.
5.       Crew should not be called for duty before 8 am while resuming from leave.
6.       Cell phone jammers to be provided in loco cab.
d)Retro Reflective Boards (Para 25.6)
          All boards meant for the guidance of loco crew such as speed restriction, termination boards, signal sighting boards, KM stones, boards on OHE masts, boards on signal post etc. shall be Retro Reflective. This should be done within a year.
          We demand that the signal posts should also be painted Retro Reflective to identify it in case of power failure.
e)Safety cadre vacancies (Para 44)
          RRBs should make a stand bye panel of 100% of intended numbers in each selection so that coverage for non-joining and attrition can be made without waiting for the next selection cycle.
We demand to implement it in the ongoing recruitment of 17000 ALPs through various RRBs.

2.Withdraw the draconian order directing the disciplinary authority, to impose
Punishment of removal from service on SPAD cases.
SPAD is a worldwide phenomenon and a lot of research is being done to control. But Indian Railways never ventured to address these problems scientifically. The present order that the Disciplinary authority should impose removal from service, even there was contributory factors, that lead to the SPAD,  as a minimum punishment created 'fear psychosis' among Loco Running Staff,  which invariably leads to undesirable cautious and defensive attitude towards their work, which have serious repercussion in the punctual,  safe and smooth running of trains.
For the past several years this is the outlook of the Railway Board, that imposing removal from service for SPAD cases will reduce or eliminate the incident of SPAD.  For the past 5 years around 300 Loco Running Staff were removed from service on account of SPAD.   But still the incidents of SPAD not reduce, it continues unabated. These prima facie shows that the course adopted to reduce SPAD, that impose removal from service, not yielded any result.     
In many countries, taking drastic disciplinary action is not considered as a solution for SPAD.  In many advanced Railways, the Loco Pilots were given extra training, counseling etc for the first two incidents of SPAD, only on third SPAD they are being grounded.  
In the year 2012 the Railway Board vide its letter no: 99/Safety (A and R) /6/1 dated 06.12.2012 asked the Zonal Railways to suggest their opinion on the norms of minimum punishment on accident case. All the Railways made their suggestion and opinion in this regard. Almost all Railways in unison  suggested that the drastic punishment of Removal from service for simple SPAD, which do not culminate in accident, should go and suggested that quantum of punishment should be minimized. The High Level safety review committee headed by Justice H R Khanna, the High Power Committee on duty hours and rest period and the recent report of "Task Force on safety" dated 10th Jan. 2017 headed by Arun Saxena, GM/NR as chairman, have denounced the Railway Board decision to impose Removal from service on SPAD cases which not culminated to any accident. The Zonal Railways suggestions on a query dated 06.12.2012 of Railway Board,  the Task Force on safety in its report dated 10th Jan 2017, are in one view that "SPAD should be dealt differently upon whether the LP, after committing SPAD,  has stopped within the signal overlap or not.  This should also decide the quantum of penalty imposed on the erring crew.

3. Allow 40 hrs Periodical Rest/Weekly Rest
 The recommendation of High Power Committee was to grant 4 periods of 40 hours as periodical/weekly rest in a month. This recommendation was squarely rejected and decided that the existing position with preference to 4 periods of 30 hours or 5 periods of 22 hours rest must be continued. This is too drastic, entirely spoiling the life of the Running Staff and their family members. Your good self will be in agreement that the running staff (Loco + Traffic) most of the time in a week or month that too their entire service will be away from their family. That itself prevents them from participating in any social functions or in their family functions and also prevents them from fulfilling their civic obligations, and look after their children, as could be done by other workers who are returning home daily after their duty. Allowing 40 hours weekly rest does not reduce the overall duty hours that still stand at 104 hours in a fortnight. Railway is no way losing on account of allowing 40 hours rest in a week as no reduction is affected in overall duty.
The Regional Labour Commissioner, Bengaluru upheld that the daily / trip rest should not be clubbed with the weekly rest and that decision was upheld by the Hon’ High Court of Karnataka. The periodic rest and head quarters rest are two different aspects altogether. At present the head quarters rest of 16 hours and the periodic rest of 30 hours run concurrently. Para IX of the ILO convention R.161 of 1979 hours work and rest period (Road Transportation) stipulate the concept that the periodical rest and the daily rest should be independent of each other. The ILO recommendation reads as under..
“The minimum duration of the rest should be 24 consecutive hours, preceded or followed by the daily rest”
The HPC further stated in this report as under:-
“The committee has also noticed that the weekly rest which is being given to all stationary staff at present is either 64 hours fixed (for those who are availing 2 days weekly off) or 40 hours fixed (for those who are availing one day weekly off) or 40 hours on an average (for those who are working in shift duty and availing one day weekly off). Therefore, a weekly rest of only 30 hours to the running staff is not only inadequate but highly discriminatory also. In fact the ILO recommendation also provides for fixing minimum duration of the periodical rest at 24 consecutive hours preceded or followed by the daily rest, which comes to the same.  The committee found general consensus among the staff as well as the management for rationalizing the periodical rest at 40 hours.”The High Power Committee in its preface to the report says as follows:-
“The recommendations of the committee are based on the following premises arrived after due deliberations:-
a.                 To address the seeming sense of discrimination amongst the Running Staff that they have to work for longer periods than other Railway Staff without provision of adequate rest.
b.                 The Running Staff need to be seen as normal human being having social and personal obligation, just as all other people.
c.                  Higher monetary compensation alone does not compensate for inadequate rest, disruption in familiar ties and unhealthy work and rest environment.
In spite of all the above, Running staff is singled out, discriminated and forced to work in such inhuman service conditions.  None of the other employees under the state have forced to work for 3 to 4 consecutive night, duty hours of 12 hours at a stretch without a break, a lesser weekly rest than 40 hours. Even in private enterprises such inhuman working condition does not exist. The very crucial staff in Railway transportation with whom safety of thousands of passengers are entrusted, has been ill treated for decades, squarely on account of the ineptness of the Railway Management, which could not create a congenial working atmosphere to ensure safety.
4.ImplementRB orders restricting continuous night duties to two
          Continuous night duty for running staff is a serious matter in the case of safety of Railways. The Member Traction Railway Board vide his letter No.2016/Elect(TRS)/113/Safety miscdt. 24/01/2017 has strictly instructed that continuous night duty for running staff should be limited to two.So this Association demand your goodself to issue orders to the crew booking offices to adhere the RB orders limiting the consecutive night duties to two and ensure Railway safety.

5.Fix Running Allowance rates strictly applying RAC 1980 formula
          The time tested formula of RAC 1980 must be applied to arrive at the rate of running allowance. It is an agreed fact that Running staff get their 30% Pay and TA through running allowance.
          After a detailed study, the Running allowance committee in the year 1980 derived a formula to calculate the Running allowance rate. It stood for the past 35 years to the satisfaction of everybody.
          Thus, the Running Allowance rates are to be fixed strictly applying the RAC 1980 formula in the 7th CPC regime too. The entire loco running staff are much agitated on the fact that the pay of entire staff are revised with effect from 01/01/2016 and the allowances including TA rates are revised with effect from 01/07/2017, but the rates of running allowance is not yet decided. It is highly unjust to differentiate the Loco Running staff by denying the benefit of increased basic pay and travelling allowance. The running allowance rates where decided in 2008 erroneously and the due allowance is being denied for the last 12 years. So this Association demand immediate declaration of running allowance rates as per RAC80 formula from the date of 7th Central Pay Revision.
6.Withdraw RB order and SR to include hammer and screw driver as equipment of ALP
          AILRSA strongly protest against the RB order No: 2010/Safety(A&R)/19/18 dated 21.7.2017 by which the following equipments are listed as personal  equipment of ALPs.
1.     Hammer
2.     Screw Driver
3.     Tri-colour torch
4.     Green and Red flag
5.     Working Time Table
The Association demands immediate withdrawal of this order.
All these items can be very well kept in the line box of LP along with the prescribed items as per GR 4.19. No ALP is going to work the train without a Loco pilot. The ALP can use these equipments from the line box of Loco pilots, if these are kept in it. Thus the purpose sought by this order, can be achieved.
          Instead of the above course, asking the ALP to carry the equipments on his back in a separate bag seems as an intention to harass and humiliate them. Under these circumstances we plead before your august office to reconsider the order and suitable modification be done, to provide these items also in the line box of LP, carried by box carrier, if at all feels necessary but not be asked an ALP to carry.
The Loco Running staff of Indian Railways is earnestly waiting for the positive remedial actions on various recommendations as enumerated above.

Thanking You,
                                                                                                      Yours Truly,           
                                                                        (                                    )
Place :                                                                           
Date  : 31.10.2017                                                   Divisional Secretary/AILRSA


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