Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw slams Congress over loco pilot work allegations | India News

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NEW DELHI: Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday accused the Congress of trying to demoralise the “railway family” with “misinformation”. The minister’s response in a social media post detailing the work condition of loco pilots came after Congress’s offensive on the work conditions of train drivers following Rahul Gandhi met some of the pilots on Friday.
Vaishnaw said loco pilots are important members of the railway family and that there was a lot of misinformation and theatrics by the opposition to demotivate them.
In the detailed post, Vaishnaw said the duty hours of loco pilots are carefully monitored and the rest is provided meticulously after trips. “The average duty hours are maintained within prescribed hours. The average is less than 8 hours in June this year. Only under exigencies, the trip duration exceeds the prescribed hours,” he said.
On the loco cabs, before 2014, they were in bad shape. The minister said in the past 10 years the cabs have been improved with ergonomic seats, and more than 7,000 of these are air-conditioned. New locomotives are manufactured with AC cabs.
With regard to the off-duty resting facility, the minister said that when a pilot completes a trip, they come to the running room for rest if they are out of headquarters. He added that before 2014, running rooms were in bad shape and now almost all (558) running rooms are air-conditioned. The minister said that in running rooms, foot massagers are also provided. “Incidentally, this was criticised by Congress without understanding the working conditions of loco pilots,” he said.
Meanwhile, R Kumaresan, president of All India Loco Running Staff Association (South Zone) said that they have been raising three demands — weekly rest should start after the loco pilots exhaust the period rest rest they get after every 8- hour trip, consecutive night duty limited to only two and return to headquarter within 48 hours. “We have not yet got any response to these issues,” he said.

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