Every time the working conditions of railway workers, particularly the inhumanely long working hours of loco pilots, are in the news, the Railway Ministry desperately seeks to cover up its shortcomings in managing the railways by introducing new technologies for supposedly helping workers. First, workers are not consulted when these technologies are implemented. Second, in the case of loco pilots, these technologies often come in the form of devices that monitor the alertness of workers. Finally, such devices end up being used mainly to place the blame of any fault on workers. Letters and protests of workers regarding their real needs go unheeded and unanswered.
The huge amount of vacancies among the running staff has led to tremendous workload for this category of workers. Commissioner Railway Safety has also repeatedly pointed out to inhumanely long working hours of loco-pilots as one of the main cause for railway accidents. Instead of taking steps to fill up vacancies, the Railway Ministry has introduced yet another device “Railway Assistant Driver System” to so called “assist loco pilots”, without asking the loco pilots whether this is what they really need to improve safety!
In a letter written to their General Secretary, the railway workers of South Central Railway Mazdoor Union (SCRMU) have clearly pointed out that the increasing number of such devices only creates more distraction for loco pilots. They have angrily asked that if the railway administration has resources to invest in monitoring devices, why has it so far been unable to fulfil the fundamental safety-related needs of loco pilots? Why are they not providing even very basic items like walkie talkies and torch lights ? In the letter they are demanding that the new device should not be introduced.
There is no substitute to the filling of vacancies in order to reduce the workload of running staff and ensure safety! We should not allow Indian Railways authorities to divert from the main issue.
SOUTH CENTRAL RAILWAY MAZDOOR UNION (Central Office) SECUNDERABAD
General Secretary, AIRF
SUB: Wrong decision of Rly Bd to install RDAS in WDG9H&WAPT Locomotives which ultimately disturb Loco Pilots’ concentration
REF: Rly bd letter No 2023/Elet.(TRS)/440/6 DATED 2-8-2023.
A hasty decision was taken by Rly Bd to provide Railway Driver Assistant System in Locos vide above referred letter without discussing with AIRF. Already many items provided in locomotives in the name of safety and resulting in disturbance to running staff.
But no positive results were achieved by these equipment except harassing Rg staff.
This tells us that no equipment will stand substitute to our running staff concentration while driving. All these equipment are meaningless without concentration of Rg Staff and no equipment came into work in the situations of SPAD or ACCIDENTS.
These are totally disturbing the mindset of working of running staff. Total drivers desk is filled with these unnecessary equipment, which makes sounds frequently and recording videos are creating extra disturbance and unrest in the working of running staff.
It is very unfortunate that Rly Administration which is unable to provide a line box in locomotives, is unable to fix the issues of malfunctioning of brake applications in LHB coaches, unable to replace the brakeless system in bmbs goods trains, unable to shift the starter signals in between the plot forms, unable to shift the NS locations in front of stop signals, unable to issue caution orders with PSRs, unable to supply walkie talkies, unable to supply torch lights, unable to supply wtt, unable to repair sand gears, unable to specify a space on drivers desk to keep caution order……. But they provided VCD, ACD, CCVRS, DAS, TCAS, KAVACH etc etc etc etc. and now RDAS WHICH OUR UNION FEELS UNNECESSARY and OBSTACLE TO RUNNING STAFF CONCENTRATED WORKING.
Our running staff are safety devices by themselves and with their inbuilt safety conscious, thousands of trains per day are running safely.
Now providing this RDAS is one more device to harass Rg staff instead of comforting them. Already Rg staff are protesting on devices like CCVRS in locomotives. We request you to protect Rg staff and demand Rly Bd to withdraw this letter.
Dr. Ch Sankara Rao,
GS/SCRMU & Treasurer/AIRF.