In response to Central Railway’s plea to 350 city organisations to implement staggered timings to reduce load on trains, six have responded positively, saying they can pitch in, including postal department, BSE, BARC, and private players like Bajaj Electricals and IRB infrastructure
The Central Railway section of the ever-bustling Dadar station on Friday. Pic/Satej Shinde
Central Railway (CR) on Thursday announced that six organisations have agreed to stagger their office timings, preventing their employees from taking the train all at once during the rush hour, thus reducing the burden on the Mumbai suburban railway. The organisations in question are the postal department, Bombay Stock Exchange, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), All India Association of Industries, Bajaj Electricals Ltd and IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd.
In October 2023, CR revived the city’s debate of staggered office timings by formally announcing the implementation of much-awaited flexible working hours for all its employees to avoid rush-hour crowds so that railway employees do not end up jostling with commuters to reach offices in time. In November, it sent out letters to over 350 organisations, offices and business chambers with the appeal to start staggering their office timings.
“Though 150 suburban services have been added during peak hour in the past seven years, there is no scope for a further increase in services. The daily number of commuters is increasing day by day. Staggering office timings is the need of the hour to kill the concept of rush hour,” Divisional Railway Manager Rajnish Kumar Goyal told mid-day.
Chief Postmaster General (Maharashtra Circle) Kishan Kumar Sharma, in his reply to CR, said, “I am sure that through diligent implementation of safety measures, we can make substantial progress towards achieving Mission Zero Death. I fully support the mission to eliminate railway-related fatalities.”
He added that the suggestion to stagger office hours would be examined by his office. “My staff will also be advised/sensitised not to cross or walk on railway tracks. We at the Department of Posts, will participate in any way possible to ensure the success of the mission,” he said.
CR has been attempting to reduce the burden on the Mumbai suburban railway. File Pic/Ashish Raje
Dr Vijay Kalantri, president of All India Association of Industries also assured CR of his full support and co-operation. Shantanu Chakraborty, corporate communications, Bombay Stock Exchange Limited, the oldest stock exchange in Asia, meanwhile, wrote to CR, saying, “We acknowledge your concerns about railway safety and have already implemented staggered office working hours. We would like to keep in touch so that we can be more helpful and receptive.”
B V Balaji, chief administrative officer (A) of the BARC, said various plants at this centre are running on round-the-clock shifts like 7 am to 3 pm, 3 pm to 11 pm, and 11 pm to 7 am. “Considering all the facts, this centre has also introduced the following different timings for general shift staff to enable them to choose their office timings as convenient to them which is between 8 am-4.30 pm, 9 am to 5.30 pm, and 9 am to 6.15 pm. Employees are also allowed to come half an hour early or late with reference to their chosen office timing with a condition that they have to work eight and a half hours on each day.”
Private players’ reactions
Wishing luck to the campaign, Anuj Poddar, managing director and chief executive officer, Bajaj Electricals Limited, said, “At Bajaj Electricals, we already follow a staggered-timing policy that provides our employees a 90-minute flexible starting window each morning and accordingly that enables a staggered end-of-office hours too every evening.”
Virendra D Mhaiskar, chairman and managing director, IRB Infrastructure Developers Limited, said, “I appreciate the effort being undertaken and I will surely ask our HR and admin team to look into your suggestions and take action accordingly to support the cause.”
No of services added during peak hour in 7 years
Duration of starting window in place at Bajaj Electricals