As motormen’s association has called for an indefinite dharna from today, many of them may not join the protest, as they are furious over the recent shutdown of Borivli block
The office block at Borivli station that was shutdown in February might become a saving grace for commuters of Western Railway (WR).
The office depot at Borivli station was closed in February, angering motormen living in suburbs, as they now have to travel everyday to Churchgate. Pic/Prashant Waydande
As motormen threaten to go on an indefinite strike from April 1, demanding an assistant motorman in every train, majority of them may not participate in the dharna as a counter-protest for the closure of the ground-floor office in Borivli.
More than a year back, the office block — called ‘depot’ in motormen lingo — was used by motormen staying in western suburbs to mark their attendance and complete daily routine paper and other formalities. There is another depot at Churchgate, where the union and motormen usually assemble.
However, in February, the motormen association decided to shut the Borivli depot. According to sources, this move was made after union leaders felt that they could not talk to many motormen, as majority of them living near Borivli would go to the suburb depot.
Sources say that it led to dissatisfaction and unrest among many WR motormen, as they would now have to travel all the way to Churchgate before starting their work. “With the Borivli depot, we could easily manage our duty hours and follow our schedule. Now we have to leave from home much earlier to go to Churchgate,” said a motorman, on the condition of anonymity.
Another motorman remarked that the dissatisfaction in the association has worked in the favour of the railway administration. As a result of the shutdown, the recent dharna by the association was marked by low attendance, with about 60 motormen present for it.
Senior motormen, however, claim that the reason for the shutdown was that there were not many facilities in the Borivli office. “The exhaust was in a bad condition and there was no canteen or any other facility at the depot,” said a senior WR motorman.
Devendra Yadav, member of motorman association, said, “We will go ahead with the indefinite dharna from April 1 with our demand for an assistant motorman inside every train.” However, according to sources, the participation could be limited, which means it may not affect the 34-lakh train commuters.