Coronavirus scare: Spare us the breath-analyser tests, say motormen

Updated: Mar 20, 2020, 07:20 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Railway officials said they have been using disposable kits always and the tubes used are thrown away after every use

Breath-analyser tests are mandatory for all train drivers before they take charge of the trains. File pic
Breath-analyser tests are mandatory for all train drivers before they take charge of the trains. File pic

Motormen of local and outstation trains on Wednesday demanded the withdrawal of mandatory breath-analyser tests following the Corona outbreak. Trade unions said that the railways should revert to manual forms of undertaking regarding alcohol consumption instead.

"The railways have given out disposable straws for the breath-analyser kits but they do not seem completely infection proof. A healthy person might catch an infection by using these. The railways should instead take a written undertaking from drivers that they have not consumed alcohol and are even free to post doctors to get the drivers examined before they join duty but please do away with the breath-analysers," said Ajay Singh of Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh.

Breath-analyser tests are mandatory for all train drivers before they take charge of the trains to test alcohol levels in their blood.

Railway officials said they have been using disposable kits always and the tubes used are thrown away after every use.

Biometric attendance stopped

The railways have already announced suspension of biometric attendance, to fight the Corona virus outbreak. "We have, however, been receiving complaints that biometric and online CMS attendance are still being practised in a few divisions despite instructions from the general manager. We request authorities to stop it immediately," Western Railway Employees Union general secretary JR Bhosale said.

Two motormen quarantined

Two WR motormen who were on a foreign tour but tested negative, were isolated and sent for home quarantine. While one of them had actually driven local trains for two days, the other one was stopped before he could resume duty. Sources said while one of them had visited Saudi Arabia, the other had visited Malaysia. While both had signed up for duty and attended work, railway medical officials tracked them down, found them negative and sent them on home quarantine.

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