Saturday, September 19, 2020


The Hon’ble Prime Minister, 

Govt. of India,  New Delhi. 

Respected Sir, 

Sub: Long pending grievances of loco running staff; request for kind intervention. 

This association represent the Loco Pilots and Assistant Loco Pilots of Indian Railway. They are working day and night amid the pandemic and more than 700 loco running staff contracted with Covid 19 and 34 of them sacrificed their lives during the course of their endeavour to maintain the life line of India-keep the wheels on rails rolling. 

We earnestly invite your kind attention to few of their burning grievances with the hope that a speedy action from your good office to redress the grievances. 

1. Stop Anti-Labour and Anti People reforms in Railways. 

A number of reforms are ordered by the Central Government pertaining to Railways in the recent past, among them 

1) Restructuring of railway Board ordered by Government of India office order no. 64of 2020 dated 08.09.2020 to change the Chairman as CEO and reducing the number of members to four. 

2) Notification Dt. 01/07/2020 inviting RFQ for 151 pair of trains in 109 routes from private operators. 

3) Administrative reforms in Production units to bring them under a  corporation. 

These are nothing but implementation of the recommendations of Bibek Debroy Committee. They are the preliminary steps to take away the powers to draw the policy and frame rules on Railways, from Railway Board. It also aim to lease out the huge assets of track, signals ,OHE, rolling stock and land of the Railways ,to the private operators, to loot the public assets and the travelling people. Administrative reforms in production units are aimed at unbundling of Railways as proposed by Bibek Debroy, detaching them from Railways and eventually sell them to private operators. This association is of the considered opinion that these actions and other proposals of the Bibek Debroy Committee are against the interest of the Railway employees, the rail users , the general public and the entire nation. 

We demand to reverse all the above anti-labour and anti-people policies immediately and maintain railways in public sector as an organ of the Govt. to serve the people. 

2. Ensure Covid safety protocol for the safety of Railway Employees. 

The dedicated service of Running Staff of Indian Railways to maintain the supply chain of food to the people, supply and distribution chain of industries, exports and imports during the pandemic is praiseworthy. They did it amid the fear of contracting Covid 19. These services are considered as essential service and running staff were exempted from the mandatory quarantine after every tour of duty and thereby accelerating the spread among other running staff and their families. As many as 34 running staff lost their life and about 700 running staff contracted Covid 19. Thousands of their family members too affected with Covid. The record shows that 0.63% of total running staff are contracted with Covid while that of India as a whole is only 0.29%. 

Massive contraction of Covid 19 among running staff will derail the train service which maintains the life line of India. In order to avoid such a situation we demand - 

1. Personal safety equipment shall be supplied to running staff similar to health workers. 

2. Locomotive cab( the work place) and crew booking offices are to be sanitised as per MHA guidelines. 

3. Running rooms shall be sanitised as per lodging protocol- man to man change of linen and mosquito net , covering of mattress with resin and man to man sanitisation or drying the mattress for three days in sunlight after every occupation, sanitizers of rest rooms and common places once in every six hours, hot boxes for linen, steaming of plates and utensils etc. 

4. Stay at running room should be limited to the most minimum possible by changing the working pattern suitable and arranging interchange enroute. 

5. Stop the head quarter bye pass and extension of crew beat resorted in few divisions by introducing “crack” goods exploiting the Covid 19 situation. 

6. Stop the random BA check as it is against the most important safety precaution of covering mouth and nose in public places and the very same instrument is used for testing a number of people every hour. 

7. Introduce an insurance of 50 lakh for all the employees working in  open line. 

8. Convert at least one hospital in every division as COVID hospital, to ensure proper treatment to Railway employees. 

3. Reduce duty hours to 10 from sign ON to sign OFF immediately 

Railway Board had circulated the decision of the full board meeting over the recommendation of HPC on HOER vide order Dt. 02/02/2016. Para 9.4 of the order says “the duty hours from sign ON to sign OFF should be reviewed in 2020, by which time major line capacity works are expected to be completed and the dedicated freight corridor system is likely to become OPERATIONAL. At that time it should be possible to reduce overall duty hours at a stretch to 10hrs from sign ON to sign OFF. 

Now the dedicated freight corridors are nearing completion and staff recruitment is going on. So the decision of the full board meeting for limiting the overall duty hours to 10 shall be ordered and implemented. 

Intensive classification of loco running staff under the provision of HOER as ordered by Ministry of Labour and limiting the overall duty hours to 8, with a fortnight statutory limit at 90 hrs shall be implemented in a phased manner in 2 years. 

4. Cancel the order of DA freeze. 

DA freeze ordered against central Govt. Employees for a period of eighteen months from 01.01.2020 is against the payment of wages act, constitutional rights of Central Govt. Employees and also against the declaration of the Central Govt. itself. It has got more adverse effect on employees those retire during this period. They will loose considerable amount in leave salary and gratuity. So this association demand to cancel the order of DA freeze. 

5. Revise the Kilometrage allowance rates taking 30% mean pay of LP/Pass. 

This association have represented earlier against the injustice brought by the Railway Board order RBE85/2019 dated 20.05.2019, revising the rate of kilometerage allowance to the Running staff of Indian Railways. The time tested formula for fixing the rate of running allowance for LP/Pass, which is the base rate formulated by RAC80 is as under. 

Rate of running allowance  =  30% of mean pay of LP/Pass + 20 days TA / X 100 

For LP/Pass for 100 kms                National average kilometres of LP/Pass 

After the 7th CPC, the parameters are :- 

The rate of running allowance for 100 kms for LP/Pass on the basis of above parameters under 7th CPC, works out to Rs. 723/- . But the rate fixed by Railway Board vide order Dt. 20/05/2019 is Rs.525/-. It seems that this rate is arrived as follows:- 

30% of 35400 + 20 days TA (16000) x 100 = Rs. 522/- (rounded to Rs.525/-) 

It appears that the rate is derived by taking the 30% of minimum basic pay + 20 days TA, divided by national average kilometre of LP/Pass. It is our contention that a rate basing on the minimum of scale is against the existing provisions contained in the IREM and also the decision of the President of India in this matter. 

The term Running allowance defined in IREM 901(V) which reads as follows. “Running allowance” means an allowance ordinarily granted to Running Staff in terms of and at the rates specified in these rules, and/or modified by the Central Government in the Ministry of Railway (Railway Board), for the performance of duties directly connected with charge of moving trains and includes a “Kilometerage allowance” and “Allowance in lieu of kilometerage” but excludes special compensatory allowance. 

And further in IREM 903 the quantum of pay element is fixed, which reads as follows:- 

IREM 903:- Pay element in running allowance:- 30% of the basic pay of the Running Staff will be treated to be in the nature of pay representing the pay element in Running Allowance. This pay element would fall under clause 

(iii) of Rule 1303-FR-9.21 (a) i.e. “Emoluments which are specifically classed as pay by the President” 

In the very order (RBE 85/2019) itself it says that “The President is now pleased to decide that the pay element in Running allowance for Running Staff would be 30% of the basic pay under the Railway services(Revised pay) Rules 2016 for Computation of the specified benefits excluding retirement benefit ………….” . 

A plain reading of these two provisions clearly gives a definite meaning that 30% pay element (pay embedded in running allowance) is not of the minimum of the basic pay in scale, but the 30% of the actual basic pay drawn by the Running Staff. Therefore, deriving a rate for kilometrage allowance confine to minimum of the basic pay of the scale for all the Running Staff, who are drawing different basic pay from Rs.35400 to Rs.1,12,400. in the level 6 Pay Matrix, is totally wrong and against provisions contained in IREM. 

In spite of all these objections of AILRSA and both Federations the Railway board took the minimum of scale to fix the KMA rate. This is not fair and against the provisions of IREM. It may please be noted that prior to 7th CPC regime the mean pay of the scales were taken to arrive at the rate of NDA, even in 6th CPC regime too. As per the recommendations of the 7th CPC now the NDA rate are based on the actual basic pay of the workers and different rate was announced. 

It may also be kept in mind that none of the Loco Pilots is drawing minimum of L6 scale for ever. The running staff who are drawing higher stage in pay scale are worst affected, many will not get even 15% of their basic pay through the KMA rate. Taking a stand that 30% of pay element is given through running allowance, the Running staff is denied with upward revision of their scale of pay, as done to other staff, through various CPC and cadre restructuring orders. 

This association urges to consider the various submissions made out in this letter and reconsider its decision to confine the 30% pay element to minimum of scale and revise the order fixing the KMA rate considering the provisions in IREM. 

6. Allow L6 Level of Pay to Assistant Loco Pilot and distinct Higher Levels of Pay to Loco Pilots 

Rising in the ladder on a cadre means, more responsibility and more remuneration. This is the basic principle. In the case of Loco Running staff, every climb in ladder on promotion from Loco Pilot (Shg Gr. I) to Loco Pilot (Goods), to Loco Pilot (Pass) and then to Loco Pilot (Mail) impose more  responsibility, demand more skill etc. But all these posts lie in the level 6 of the pay matrix denying progression from one level to another higher level in the pay matrix, violating general principle of pay commission. Thus, the feeder and promotional posts are lying in same pay scale. As per Railway establishment rules in force LP (Goods) and LP (Pass) posts are selection posts and the candidates has to obtain competency certificate given after specified training programs to become eligible to appear for the selection tests. The duty of Loco Pilot (Shg) confined to station yard, whereas the Loco Pilot (Mail) has to work all express, Super-fast trains etc. but both are on same pay scale of L6 in Pay Matrix. Added to that, the same pay given to Guards are allowed to Loco Pilot (Mail) and Loco Pilot (Pass). It may please be noted that higher medical standard, higher skill and more stress are expected from Loco Pilot (Pass) and (Mail) than from Guard, thus allowing with same scale and emoluments for both is totally unjustified. 

The Assistant Loco Pilots are still in L2 in Pay Matrix with a starting pay of Rs. 19900/- just above the lowest employee in Railways whose starting pay is Rs. 18000/-. The educational qualification, the induction training, the knowledge, skill required to perform the duty, the highest medical standard to hold the post not been reflected in their pay. While the VIIth CPC recommended the post of ASM in grade pay of 2800 upgraded to grade pay of 4200 on the ground that qualification required to hold the post of ASM and SM is equal. In the case of ALP, the qualification required to hold the post of ALP and Sr. ALP is also the same. But the VIIth CPC did not noticed the similiraty in the case of ALP and Sr. ALP as considered in the case of ASM and SM. The post of ALP in Grade pay 1900 would have been merged with Sr. ALP in GP 2400 as done for ASM and ESM posts. Normally the new recruits reach the post of Loco Pilot (Shg) in L6 of Pay Matrix within a span of 7 to 9 years. It is ironical to note that thereafter, even if he has climbed the Ladder and become LP (Mail), he is doomed to sit, rot and die on the same scale for around 25 years. Whereas all other categories ie, Travelling train Examiners, Permanent way Inspectors, Signal Inspectors, Station Masters and clerks etc can move to L7, L8 and L9 in Pay Matrix either by promotion or by MACP. In the present situation a Loco Pilot (Shg) to LP (Mail) will get only two increments in his entire service period of 25 to 30 years, on account of promotion. As the posts are treated as promotional posts benefits of MACP are not allowed to Loco Running Staff. This is the pathetic situation knowingly or unknowingly created by the Ministry of Railways. 

So this Association reiterates the demand to allot L6 scale to Asst Loco Pilots and distinct higher pay levels to Loco Pilots to mitigate the injustice of lesser wage hither to paid to loco running staff when compared to the work extracted from them. 

7. Revision of Pension of Pre-2016 retired Running Staff 

The medical practitioner and Running Staff in the Railway are entitled to add 25%/55% of pay to their basic pay to calculate the pension. The Government of India made rules for revision of pension of Pre-2016 retired medical practitioner and the same was made applicable to the medical practitioner of Railways mutatis mutandis. But when came to the revision of pension of pre-2016 retired running staff, a new instruction has been issued by the Railway Board Order no. RBE13/2018, completely deviating from the method of calculation. It is humbly submitted that the principle of revision of pension for pre-2016 retired running staff provided for in the Railway Board vide order RBE 13/2018 is incomplete, contrast to the principle directed to be followed by the DOP & PW by the order dated 12/05/2017 and 11/09/2017. 

So the Railway Board order RBE 13/2018, may please be reviewed and the benefit extended by the Government of India be restored to pre-2016 retired running staff. 

8. Scrap NPS and extend old pension scheme to all running staff 

The running staff of Indian Railways are enjoying an additional benefit of 55% add on element (pay element) to their basic pay for all retirement benefits (IREM Vol I para 924 (iii)). Such a benefit was allowed to running staff from time immemorial. 

The running allowance committee 1980 had found that such an enhanced pensionary benefit is a rightful compensation to the hard work they rendered during their service with unscheduled and incomparable running duties scarifying their family lives. 

All Loco Running staff are serving the Railways and the nation under the very same set of rules and in same types of locomotives. But those who have joined service after 01-01-2004 are treated differently denying the above compensation enjoyed by those who joined before them which is highly unjust and also demoralising. 

We demand to end the differential treatment by extending old pension scheme to all running staff and scrap NPS. 

9. Allow weekly/Periodical rest independent of trip/daily rest of 16 hours 

The Regional Labour Commissioner(C), Bengaluru, vide order no. 95/01/200-B2 dated 22/10/2001 declared that the trip rest of 16 hours and the weekly rest are independent of each other, and shall not run concurrently or overlap each other. The said decision reached its finality by the judgement of Hon. High Court of Karnataka in WP no. 6607/2010 dated 13/04/2012, still this has not been implemented by the Ministry of Railways. Therefore we request to allow weekly/periodical rest independent of trip/daily rest of 16 hours. 

10. Restrict continuous night duties to two 

The loco running staff are subjected to work in hostile situations and the working conditions imposed upon them are not conducive to ensure safety. Appreciating this fact, the High Power Committee on duty hours and rest recommended to limit the continuous night duty to two followed by an order No. 2016/Elec (TRS)113/safety misc., dated 24.01.2017 issued by Member Electrical, Railway Board, directing not to book crew for more than two nights at a stretch, which is not been adhered by the Zonal Railways. Still the crew have to work 4 to 6 nights continuously. Request to restrict the night duties to two. 

11. Install signal repeaters to starter signals on curved platforms and conduct safety audit on vulnerable signals 

Hundreds of Loco Pilots and Asst. Loco Pilots are being removed/dismissed from service every year on account of SPAD. The stringent punishment norms adopted in SPAD cases did not yield to reduce those incidents. This fact reveals that there is severe lacuna in the signals which are vulnerable to be missed for mistaken by the approaching Loco Pilot. So this Association demand to conduct a safety audit on vulnerable signals. 

Every stations have a number of lines and hence a number of starter signals. In major junction stations there is every chance for the Loco Pilot to mistake a starter signal especially by the coaching Loco Pilots. Inorder to avoid such incidents Railway Board had ordered to install signal repeaters for starter signals on curved platforms vide Order no. 2019.Sig./26-A/SCR/4 dt. 01/05/2019. We demand speedy action to implement the order at all curved stations. 

12. Allow recognition to AILRSA 

Running of trains is the core of Railway industry, Loco Running Staff plays the key role in running of trains. So proper understanding and redressal of grievances of this category has prime importance in the effective functioning of Railway. Considering this factor many Railways in other countries have adopted suitable machinery to resolve the issues of this prominent category of staff by way of negotiating facilities to their trade unions. Air pilots of our country too avail this facility. 

Indian Railways too had formed LRSGC earlier which was abandoned in 1980. The Indian Railway Establishment manual allow negotiation facility to the union of this unique category. This association has submitted representation Dt.30.09.2019 seeking recognition to AILRSA. We demand immediate decision on the subject. 

13. Vacate victimisation of Loco Pilots of Kharagpur division Under S.E RLY 

It is known to all that the unrest broke out at Kharagpur was followed the suicide of one of fellow running staff. It was caused by the unlawful, vindictive and abusive attitude of the chief crew controller. The entire staff was agitated against the misdeeds of the CCRC and had sought early intervention of higher authorities. But the Sr.DEE(OP) had resorted to invoke the black rule of 14/II to dismiss 8 running staff selectively on 03/11/2018. 

The DRM and GM had assured favourable decision immediately on the following day. But the DRM confirmed all the penalty orders against the rule of the country. The unprecedented delay in settling the issue from the part of South Eastern Railway administration has forced the employees to seek legal remedy. Court has ordered the PCOM/S.E.Rly to reinstate the employees through its decision delivered on 15/01/2020. Against the inaction of the revisionary authority on the revision petition and reminders, the employee filed execution petitions. On 17/07/2020 court again gave 6 weeks for disposal of revision petition. Revising authority, although quash the order of appellate authority but not quashed the order of removal and asked appellate authority to based the D&A enquiry in contrary to Hon’ble CAT order and also against the D&A rule. Such adamancy from the part of SER administration is challenging the Judiciary and Democratic right. It is destroying not only the faith of workers in Judiciary and Government but also their morale. 

We demand to reinstate them immediately. 

14. Stop unsafe working 

1. Stop unsafe working with EOTT and without Guard 

It is noticed that with the interpretation of amended subsidiary Rules and Railway board circular about GDR check, certain Divisional Officials are forcing LOCO RUNNING STAFF for unsafe train working. Loco running staff  are forced to work the train without guard from starting station to destination under the name of operational exigencies. The decision to replace guard with EOTT is really shocking. While doing so administration ignore the following safety rules and rul. 175 of Indian Railway act. 

a) It is not clarified as yet that by whom the train will be protected when running without Guard and when stopped beyond IBH signal. 

b) It is also not cleared that who will apply brake in brake van in the absence of Guard and train Running is unsafe condition. 

c) It is not clarified about train protection in rear side in case of derailment, fire, accident, load parting, load dividing when train running without guard. 

2. Issue unified SR for rules pertaining to train operation 

Now a days running staff are made to work beyond the divisional and zonal boundaries. At the same time the authorised officer of every Railway is authorised to make changes in subsidiary rules including those pertaining to train operation. Similarly Divisional authorities too order “standing instructions” for the Divisions. This practice defeats the very purpose of safety rules as Loco Pilots of other divisions and Zones remain unaware of those rules/instructions. So we demand to bring the rules pertaining train operation under unified SR. 

3. Stop train working without BPC/invalid BPC 

There is a serious complaint among Loco Pilots working in goods trains that they are forced to work trains without BPC or with invalid BPC. It is most unsafe to run such trains and demand strict compliance of safety rules. 

4. Cancel the contradictory standing instructions and JPOs 

Many a standing instructions and joint procedure orders issued by divisional authorities are contradicting the GR, SR and safety rules. These orders are endangering railway safety and also bring excessive stress on Loco Pilots. We demand to cancel all such orders/instructions which are contradictory to safety. 

15. Stop utilization of coaching crew for goods trains and ALPs for sanitising loco cabs 

Point no. 11 of the minutes of video conference of CRB with GMs says that, LP (Passenger/Mail) may be utilised for freight movements wherever there is shortage of LP (Goods) so that not to affect the movement of essential commodities. The above referred directive is misused by the divisional authorities to utilise Coaching crew to work Goods trains in a regular measure. 

This Association registers its serious protest against it. Loco Running Staff are much aggrieved on the unjust, illogical and differential treatment to them. Normally a LP/Goods is getting promotion as LP(P) after a long irregular, uncertain and tedious working in Good All staff in those posts fetched the promotion after qualifying a promotional course and passing a selection test. So utilisation of Coaching LPs to work Goods trains is against existing rule provisions amounts to dishonour to the senior Loco Pilots and tantamount to a major penalty of reversion/degradation. It may also lead to accidents due to improper judgement of breaking distance of goods train as LP/P and LP/M are habited to work fast light loaded coaching trains only. 

We also submit that at present coaching traffic is thin and large numbers of newly recruited ALPs have joined in many divisions. So we urge to promote qualified LP/Shunting and Sr. ALPs as LP/Goods in the existing vacancies. If that too is insufficient, promotions may be granted on temporary measure. 

Some divisional administrations had stopped sanitisation of loco cabs abrupt and are asking the ALPs to do the same. This is also an unlawful reduction in status of ALP and hence we demand to stop such practice immediately. 

16. Psycho test of staff involved in SPAD 

Instruction were recently issued by the Railway Board that the Psycho test for Running staff involved in SPAD is restricted to one attempt. This instruction resulted many a running staff involved in SPAD has to be kept idle or utilised in posts which are not sanctioned for a period upto retirement. It also result the concerned employee were denied with career advancement for his entire service. Therefore this Association demand to modify the instruction restricting the psycho test attempt to once. 

17. Non-payment of ALK 

Financial discrimination to running staff for not paying ALK, which is a part of pay when kept in spare for no train could be offered to work due to cancellation of trains during Lockdown period by different divisions despite of repeated representation at different levels. Your immediate intervention is requested to ensure the payment of ALK, when train could not be offered to work due to cancellation train of services. 

Thanking you, 

                                                                                                              Yours faithfully 


                                                                                                  Secretary General, AILRSA 

Copy to: 

1. Honourable Minister for Railways. 

2. The Chairman, Railway Board. 


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