Mumbai: Viral video of Railway motorman peeing turns focus on their plight
Day after this paper's report about motorman stopping train to pee, others come forward to highlight long-standing demand for staff toilets
The viral video of the motorman halting a local train in order to take a leak on the tracks on Wednesday, has got the entire tribe up in arms. Motormen across the board say their non-stop long duty hours and toilets at railway stations located far from the motorman's cabin means they are forced to carry plastic bags or bottles to relieve themselves inside the train. They say repeated requests to the authorities to address the issue have only been ignored.
The motorman caught on camera has spoken about the pressure to be on time that forces them to forego something as basic as a toilet break. The motorman, identified as MP Singh, was on the Ambernath 36 train which was on its way back to CSMT. His non-stop duty stretched to six hours, interspersed with delays in reaching Amernath station. This gave him very little time to start the train for its return journey and meant he was unable to use the washroom. That's when he decided to take a quick loo break when the light turned red in the middle of the journey.
In Singh's statement to National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU) officer Sachin Nair, he has pointed out some serious issues faced by motormen while on duty. Nair said, "Singh came from CSMT to Ambernath and as there were train problems, he was under tremendous pressure to try and maintain punctuality. Hence, the train barely got 5 to 6 minutes to start on its journey back to CSMT. At Ambernath station, the toilet is on platform 1 and this train had halted on platform 3. Singh had no time to go all the way to platform 1 to relieve himself. That's why he jumped off the train at a red light to relieve himself. He has a blood pressure problem, too."
No loo near motorman's cabin
Venu Nair, NRMU president, who is also a motorman, said, "We have been facing this problem for many years. Asking for a toilet inside the motorman's cabin is foolish, but we have even suggested that and asked for toilets on the platform close to the motorman's cabin. While we are always blamed when something goes wrong, the authorities have not bothered to solve this serious problem. A motorman is responsible for thousands of people on the train, and if his mind is diverted due to such issues, it could become a problem for everyone."
Motorman Sikandar Khan, who travelled from Kalyan to Kasara and back to CSMT and then again to Kalyan, said, "On the entire Kasara or Karjat line you will not find a single toilet near the motorman's cabin. That's why I get off during a red light to relieve myself if it is too urgent. Because the train gets late due to some or the other reason, there is no time to even fill up a water bottle or to relieve oneself. We need toilets near the motorman's cabin to solve this issue. So many of us suffer from bladder-related problems, yet we perform our duty efficiently every time. The authorities, too, should think about resolving our issues."
'Don't care if train is delayed'
S B Koturwar
Motorman S B Koturwar said, "A few motormen friends have told me that they carry plastic bags to relive on the train. As for me, I do not care if the train reaches late, I go find a toilet wherever it is. We have to be 100 per cent alert while operating the train so cannot be distracted by these things. I can perform optimally only if I am relaxed."
D P Pardesi
Motorman D P Pardesi said he was stuck on the train for almost 15 hours without relieving himself during the water-logging problem on July 1.
When mid-day asked CR's Senior Public Relations Officer A K Jain what the railways' plan was to solve the toilet problems of the motormen, he refused to comment.
Penalised for peeing
Interestingly, after the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan came into force, all government departments received orders about not peeing anywhere other than in toilets. Post this, railway authorities had prepared charge sheets against a few motormen found relieving themselves on the tracks. Some have been fined, while others have had their increments stopped. Yet, under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyanm, the railways have not built any extra toilets for motormen.
No. of hours motorman D P Pardesi was stuck on the train without relieving himself during the water-logging problem on July 1
Venu Nair, NRMU president
'We have been facing this problem for many years. Asking for a toilet inside the motorman's cabin is foolish, but we have even suggested that and asked for toilets on the platform close to the motorman's cabin. While we are always blamed when something goes wrong, the authorities have not bothered to solve this serious problem'
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