Ignatius Pereira

Against round-the-clock working

‘Railways have not provided the mandatory facilities’

Customers call for closed sheds facilities

KOLLAM: Regular railway freight customers from the State have decided to move court against the decision of the Southern Railway to introduce round-the-clock working at eight major goods sheds in the State from July 1.

The freight customers told The Hindu that they were already in consultation with lawyers on the issue and that they would file the suit either by the end of the week or early next week.

They would contest the notification introducing the system on grounds that the railways had not made the mandatory facilities and other problems that might lead to a big price rise of many commodities that largely reached the State as railway freight.

Other practical difficulties to be brought in the suit include problems in getting the required head-load workers late in the night, both at the goods sheds and at the destinations where the lorries from the shed go with the goods.

The direction of the railways to unload goods from the wagons and store them on the platform will lead to additional loading charges when they are loaded from there to the lorries. Now the system is to directly load the goods from the wagons to the trucks.

Moreover, the platforms are not covered and the railways have not provided any closed sheds for storing the goods.

Facilities required

The freight customers point out that other mandatory facilities have not been provided even though the railways had directed the authorities concerned at the respective goods sheds to provide the same by July 1.

These include water supply connection, toilet facilities, canteen, drinking water, proper lighting to facilitate night time unloading, concrete the unloading platforms and installation of high mast platforms wherever required.

Snake menace

Special mention was also there to clear the wild growth of vegetation in the Kollam good shed area because of the venomous snake menace. But none of these directions had been met.

The freight customers demand that closed shed facilities are imperative. They also pointed out that mystery surrounds the decision of the railways to exclude the Thrissur and Ollur goods sheds from the 24-hour working system.

They said that these two goods sheds handle more than 12 freight trains every month. This aspect will also be brought to the notice of the court, they said.

Meanwhile, though they have not taken any decision to implead in the litigation, the suit to be filed by the freight customers has the support of head load workers’ unions, lorry unions and the goods shed-based clearing and forwarding agents.