13 goods trains held as loco staff strike enters 12th day

Published - June 11, 2024 08:40 pm IST - PALAKKAD

The strike by a section of loco running staff entered the 11th day on Tuesday, enhancing pressure on the Railway authorities to maintain the schedule of trains. As many 13 goods trains have been held, and passenger trains, including express and mail, are on the verge of being hit.

A section of loco pilots under the banner of the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) have been striking since June 1 demanding an increase in their periodic rest from 30 hours to 46 hours. They have been striking by staying away from duty for 46 hours after completion of their periodic duty.

No talks were held between the striking loco staff and the Railway authorities. According to Palakkad Divisional Railway Manager A.K. Chaturvedi, the loco staff forcefully availing themselves of 46 hours of periodic rest is a serious act of indiscipline and it will be dealt with stringently.

The Railway division has restricted the leave for loco pilots. Those loco staff who are not on strike are being pushed into work to maintain the schedule of passenger trains.

“Leaves are now restricted to emergency situations. The waiting of 13 goods trains has caused a heavy financial loss to the Railways. Most of those trains are food grains and cement laden,” said Divisional Electrical Engineer (Operations) Anoop V.

Crew controllers in depots such as Palakkad, Shoranur, Kozhikode and Mangaluru are under severe duress as the “crew link” or the crew roster has been upset.

“Those absent go out of the roster, and when then come back for duty after their self-imposed 46 hours of rest, they go out of the link. Accommodating them for duty becomes tough, and they practically end up getting 50 to 60 hours of rest,” said Mr. Anoop.

Expressing worry at the wastage of manpower, Mr. Anoop said that the system was on the verge of a collapse. But when the Express/Mail trains stop running, the strike will go out of the hands and the Railways will go for punitive actions, he said.

The striking loco staff, meanwhile, staged protests at crew depots such as Shoranur, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Managaluru. They alleged that the Railway authorities were not permitting those loco pilots on duty to work as part of a ‘plot’ to destroy the strike. They said the authorities were trying to turn the anger of the public against the striking loco staff.

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