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Transfer of loco pilots who acted in short film draws flak

INDTransfer of loco pilots who acted in short film draws flak

The recent transfer from Ernakulam to Trichy of three loco pilots who were among those who acted in a short film that was reportedly made to pledge solidarity with the ongoing agitation seeking adequate rest hours for loco pilots, has met with protests from, among others, the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA).

While portraying the working conditions of loco pilots, the film “Siren”, an untold story of loco pilots’, highlighted the demands that the loco pilot community had been raising, including more hours of rest.

P.N. Soman, central working committee member, AILRSA, said the personnel were only portraying the need to increase the weekly hours of rest of loco pilots from 30 to 46 hours, considering their highly-stressful work. The film does not in any way affect the public image of the Railways, nor has the agitation affected train operations. Thanks to the agitation and the recent spree of train accidents, the Railways have decided to fill vacancies of 18,000 loco pilots. This must be done in a time-bound manner since over 3,000 loco pilots retire every year, he added.

Meanwhile, Railway sources said the film at many instances portrayed the department in a negative manner and “exaggerated” many of the hassles that loco pilots faced. Moreover, the Railways’ permission was not sought before making it. Loco pilots’ concerns should ideally be redressed before the Railway Board that made policy decisions, they said.

Maintaining that the month-long agitation by loco pilots had been temporarily called off on Friday following an online zonal-level meeting that discussed ‘assurances’ by the Railways to consider their grievances, Mr. Soman said efforts would be made to prevail on the Railways to cancel penal actions that were taken against the agitating loco pilots.

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