Loco Pilots to go on relay hunger strike

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 05 (UNI) The loco pilots of Khurda road division of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) today threatened to go on a ten-day relay hunger beginning January nine in protest against "harassment" by higher officers.

All India Loco Running Staff Association joint secretary general M N Prasad told newspersons here that the officers in Khurda division were forcing the loco pilots to work for more than 12 hours violating the Instructions of the Railway Standing Committee and Hours of Employment Regulation at the cost of the safety of the passengers.

Mr Prasad said the loco pilots would stop work if the authorities did not initiate any step to redress their grievances and fulfil their charter of demands.

The demands included among other things stopping of intentional harassment, withdrawal of punishment against those not willing to work beyond long hours of duty, provision of minimum amenities like schooling, medical and railway accommodation at all crew changing points.

He alleged that though the loco running staff must work for eight hours on roaster duty but they were forced to put on more than 12 hours duty. The employees were chargesheeted and humilated if they asked for relief.

Mr Prasad also alleged that derailment-prone four wheeler tank wagons were being allowed to run and in case of derailement the loco pilots were being punished for no fault of their.

Trains were allowed to run without brake van in violation of the train working rule and the staff were being victimised when they refused to work.

Mr Prasad said the loco pilots were forced to take the extreme step as the authorities did not take any step to redress their grievances despite several representations to the higher authorities.

UNI BD-DP SJC AB 2059

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