WR motormen feel too many vacancies are robbing their vacations

May 21, 2013, 08:58 IST | Shashank Rao

There are as many as 110 posts lying vacant in their cadre; this means that the drivers are overworked, and can't take leaves that are due to them, unless they find colleagues to do double shifts for them

Everyone feels entitled to a long, relaxing summer vacation, and the Western Railways (WR) motormen are no exception. But they claim that the posts lying vacant in their cadre are making it impossible for them to go on leave, burdened as they are with double shifts.

The motormen have written to the railways administration, informing them that 110 posts are lying vacant. If these posts are filled, the new recruits can drive the suburban local trains and ease the burden of work.

Safety at stake: With lakhs of passengers to cater to, the overworked motormen plying on the Western Railway network are afraid that their exhaustion may cause them to breach signals and put lives at risk. File pic

“We are being harassed by the administration, as they are asking us to work double shifts and are unable to take the leaves that are due to them,” said a motorman, requesting anonymity.

They added that their simple wish of enjoying holidays with their families is often dashed because they aren’t granted leave owing to the staff shortage. “If we ask for leave, we are asked to provide at least two other motormen as replacement, who would do double shifts to make up for our absence,” said another motorman.

The shortage of staff is also causing exhaustion among the drivers, who feel that this might affect their work. When working double shifts, they feel drowsy most of the times, and fear that they may mistakenly breach a signal.

Even the loco-inspectors, who are responsible for monitoring and counseling motormen, have vacancies in their cadre. They complained that only 14 of them have been monitoring hundreds of motormen. In case of any failures on the tracks, these inspectors have to be present till the problem is identified and rectified. What’s more, of these 14 inspectors, four have been allotted other jobs. “There is a shortfall of nine loco-inspectors, which should be met, with more motormen being enrolled,” said a loco-inspector.

Meanwhile, the Western Railway administration claimed that they are filling the vacant posts as per the process. “In another two months around 25 more motormen are expected to join, who are now being trained,” said N David, spokesperson, WR. Other officials said that the process of recruiting people takes time. 

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