New Delhi, Jan 18: This is painful tale of thousands of train drivers who work in tough, harsh conditions to provide us a comfortable ride. One may not have idea that around 69,000 locomotive drivers who run 9,000 trains in the country hardly get few minutes break during their 12-hour shift.
These drivers are not allowed to take even lunch break or answer nature's call. Shockingly, there is no toilet facility available in the the engines where locomotive drivers have to be present for 12 hours.
According to reports, the train drivers' association has approached National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to help them out. In their complaint the Indian Railway Loco Running Men's Organization (IRLRO) has said that 'inhumane and cruel' working conditions is taking toll on them.
This development has come to light when Indian Railways is in the news for all the good reasons.
When asked about the complaint, S K Pandhi, working president of IRLRO was quoted by TOI as saying, "It's only Indian Railways all over the world which denies basic human rights to its employees. These loco drivers hardly get a weekly off after driving the train continuously for 12 to 13 hours".
He further told, "According to the norms in different transportation systems - in road transport, a driver is allowed to take a break after five hours of driving on the road, in Delhi Metro, the train drivers are given 40 minutes break after every three hours. Similarly, airline pilots are also given regular breaks. In the case of train drivers, however, the breaks are of one or two minutes when the train stops at a platform. Can't railway drivers even eat or go to toilet properly?"
The matter is pending with the commission presently as Railways differs with the views of the drivers. Reportedly, Railways management believes that drivers can't be given break during their shift timings. The weird reason that the management has put up is that if they will allow break during their shifts it may go against the passengers' safety. Moreover, few minutes break may cause unnecessary delay in the whole journey