Mumbai: Western Railway wants stressed staff to just chill

Updated: Feb 15, 2020, 07:28 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Meditation and recreational hubs at Churchgate and Virar for motormen, guards to help them 'vent feelings, attain peace'

Railway motormen and guards meditate at WR's de-stressing hub
Railway motormen and guards meditate at WR's de-stressing hub

Driving a train is not an easy job. Crossing a signal almost every kilometre, tackling random trespassers on tracks, halting the train at exact halt points at every station between Churchgate and Virar for several hours a day demands a tremendous level of precision and patience. Clearly Mumbai's motormen and guards go through a lot — and Western Railway (WR) wants them to let their hair down through its 'meditation rooms'.

The WR on Friday inaugurated the de-stressing hubs at Churchgate and Borivli. Motormen and guards will find tranquillity there, be able to vent their anger, play games and watch TV.

White boards at the de-stressing hub let staff write anonymous messages and thoughts. Pics/Ashish Raje
White boards at the de-stressing hub let staff write anonymous messages and thoughts. Pics/Ashish Raje

"The rooms decrease stress as one goes further inside," explained the brains behind the project, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), G V L Satyakumar.

First comes the TV room, then a playroom equipped with board games such as chess and carrom, "Then comes the room where one can talk about their feelings, complain, or just talk to clear up their mind. People can give the harshest complaints anonymously," Satyakumar added.

Motormen and guards play carrom at WR's de-stressing hub
Motormen and guards play carrom at WR's de-stressing hub

"The last section is a sound-proof meditation room. It is where one can attain peace," Satyakumar explained.

One of the key reasons behind giving motormen a place to unwind is to keep tabs on cases of 'signal passing at danger' (SPAD), which many motormen experience.

"Such a peaceful place to unwind was required because of the stressful, frequent trips we undertake," said guard Santosh Kakade.

"We have around an hour of waiting period during workdays. This room is good to stay in," said another motorman. Guard Ashish Dalvi called it a 'happy space'.

Inside the last room, mid-day found numerous messages congratulating the WR and complaints written on a whiteboard.

Satyakumar, who had these hubs built in two months at a cost of R9.5 lakh, said he too would make himself available to counsel staff. A similar hub will come up at Virar railway station within 15 days.

Ravinder Bhakar, WR's chief public relations officer, said, "The meditation and recreational activities will also help staff improve their focus."

Rs 9.5 lakh
Cost of the meditation hubs

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