Image Source : PTI (FILE) Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw took to X (formerly Twitter) to address the concern surrounding the working conditions of loco pilots which have also been highlighted by the Leader of Opposition (LoP), Rahul Gandhi.

In his post, the minister wrote, “Loco pilots are important members of the railway family. Since there is a lot of misinformation and theatrics by opposition to demotivate our Loco pilots, let me make things very clear.”

Improved working conditions

“Duty hours of loco pilots are carefully monitored. Rest is provided meticulously after trips. The average duty hours are maintained within the prescribed hours. The average is less than 8 hours in the month of June this year. Only under exigencies, the trip duration exceed the prescribed hours”, Vaishnaw added. 

Pilots operate locomotives from loco cab. 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.

Off-duty resting facility

The railway minister added that 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.

Recruitment

In the past few years, 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 family with fake news will fail. The entire ‘rail parivar’ is united in serving our country,” Railway Minister added. 

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