Opposition parties demoralising loco pilots: Ashwini Vaishnaw

Last week, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi met a group of loco pilots, who complained of 'inadequate rest due to understaffing'.
Last Updated : 10 July 2024, 11:49 IST

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New Delhi: Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday said the railways has taken a number of initiatives to improve the working conditions of the loco pilots as they are important members of the railway family.

Slamming the Opposition parties, the minister said that there were attempts going on to demoralise the loco pilots by spreading misinformation and theatrics by some political leaders.

"In the past few years, a major recruitment exercise was completed and 34,000 running staff have been recruited. Recruitment process for 18,000 running staff is currently in process. The attempt to demoralise railway families with fake news will fail. The entire rail parivar is united in serving our country," the Minister posted on X.

Highlighting steps taken to improve the working condition of loco pilots, the minister said, "Duty hours of loco pilots are carefully monitored. Rest is provided meticulously after trips. The average duty hours are maintained within prescribed hours."

"The average is less than 8 hours in the month of June this year. Only under exigencies, the trip duration exceeds the prescribed hours," he added.

According to Vaishnaw, pilots operate locomotives from loco cab and before 2014, cabs were in very bad shape.

"Since 2014, cabs have been improved with ergonomic seats, and more than 7,000 loco cabs are air conditioned. New locomotives are manufactured with AC cabs," he said.

Talking about the off-duty resting facility, the railway minister said, "When pilots complete a trip, they come to the running room for rest if they are out of headquarters. Before 2014, running rooms were in very bad shape. Almost all (558) running rooms are now air conditioned."

"In many running rooms, foot massagers are also provided. Incidentally, this was criticised by Congress without understanding the working conditions of loco pilots," he added.

Last week, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi met a group of loco pilots, who complained of "inadequate rest due to understaffing". Gandhi assured them that he would raise their issues in Parliament.

Over 17 Members of Parliament from the opposition parties have written to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw highlighting various issues that plague the train drivers and result in red-signal overshoot as well as accidents.

Published 10 July 2024, 11:49 IST

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