Every day, the lives of lakhs of Mumbaikars are at the mercy of local train motormen and their vision. Any blurriness may lead to disaster. So, when in a recent eye test conducted by Western Railway (WR) it was found that out of more than 400 train operators, some were inadequate to handle the job, they were promptly ‘decategorised’ — advised to shift to alternate assignments. However, what is surprising is that they continue to draw fancy salaries, similar to any motorman.
According to railways’ rules, any motorman who crosses 55 years of age has to undergo an eye test every year, and if he fails the test the person must be moved to some other task.
“These people can’t be called motormen. To allow them to work as train operators may prove dangerous for passengers,” said head of a commuter association.
There are 445 motormen in WR who work in two shifts. The ones whose eyesight is poor are often assigned shunting duties — move the train between platforms and yards.
MiD DAY has the names of a few motormen who failed the Periodical Medical Exam (PME). “There are 19-20 medically decategorised staffers who cannot run local trains, the job for which they were appointed. Most of them are still drawing the same salary as they did when they were motormen,” said a train operator, who didn’t want to be named.
For instance, an operator who was decategorised in 2006 is still serving as motorman, and as per the records is doing shunting duties.
The approx monthly salary of a motorman
Approx monthly pay for shunting duties
Nitin David, senior PRO, WR, said, “All our motormen are fit for running trains. A few have been decategorised, and are waiting for alternate jobs to be assigned.”