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Railways depriving loco drivers of sleep

Railways depriving loco drivers of sleep

For Lack Of Rules, Pilots End Up Working As Many As 15 Nights Without Break

Mahendra Kumar Singh TNN
New Delhi: The next time you board a train, spare a thought for its driver. He could well be doing duty for the past 15 nights.
Ironically, there is no upper limit in the railways rulebook on the number of night duties to be done by the engine crew despite data from major rail accidents pointing to the fact that most mishaps take place between early night and late morning.
The weekly rest provisions for locomotive drivers are vague. These talk of giving drivers a 30-hour rest four times or 22-hour rest five times in a calendar month. But the provisions are silent on the gap between two rests.
Faced with a severe staff shortage, coupled with the fact that most trains run also during night hours, railways is being forced to put most of its drivers on night duty for long periods.
As of now, around 60,000 loco drivers are running more than 19,000 trains as there is a 20% vacancy in the 82,000 sanctioned posts.
The dangers of such a situation are obvious. For instance, the engine crew roster for Hampi Express which collided with a stationary train suggests that the driver had run 23 trains in 19 days of which 12 were full-night, three half-night and seven full-day duties. This means the driver had undisturbed sleep in only seven days in the past three weeks.
The crew roster for Kanpur shows that a driver has to run 16 trains in 15 days, of which 15 are full-night. Under the rules, they are not allowed to break for food, refreshment or answer nature’s call during duty hours.
Though railways has blamed ‘human error’ on the part of drivers for recent train accidents, the increasing number of deaths on rail tracks has exposed the glaring negligence in safety measures, including a large number of vacancies for loco pilots.
The drivers’ association claimed that around 3,000 drivers are stationary as they are assigned petty clerical or personal assistant jobs and 4,000-5,000 are medically unfit. Indian Railway Loco Running Men Organisation accused the management of making a scapegoat of drivers, and said the real culprits were the unjust duty hours.
Times View
All talk of introducing modern technology to enhance safety in the railways seems farcical given the fact that even something as basic as ensuring adequate rest for the men behind the machines is so callously neglected. Considering that the lives of lakhs of passengers who travel by the railways every day is in the hands of these loco drivers, their remaining alert at all times is crucial. That can hardly be expected if they are fatigued and sleep deprived. Safety apart, there is the issue of the right of the loco drivers to decent working conditions. Surely the government that lays down labour norms for all should at the very least ensure that its own entities provide decent working conditions. Clearly, the vacancies need to be filled, the sooner the better. For the full report, log on to

Publication: The Times Of India Delhi;
Date: May 31, 2012;
Section: Times Nation;
Page: 9


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PME Due Date

Master Circular No. 25

Copy of Railway Board’s letter No. 69/H/3/11 dated 06.12.1974

Subject: Implementation of the Recommendations of the Visual Sub-Committee.

6. Periodical re-examination of serving Railway Employees:

6.l. In order to ensure the continued ability of Railway employees in Classes A l, A 2, A 3, B l and B 2 to discharge their duties with safety, they will be required to appear for re-examination at the following stated intervals throughout their service as indicated below:

6.1.1. Classes A l, A 2 and A 3 —At the termination of every period of three years, calculated from the date of appointment until they attain the age of 45 years, and thereafter annually until the conclusion of their service.

Note: (l) The staff in categories A l, A 2 and A 3 should be sent for special medical examination in the interest of safety under the following circumstances unless they have been under the treatment of a Railway Medical Officer.

(a) Having undergone any treatment or operation for eye trouble irrespective of the duration of sickness.

(b) Absence from duty for a period in excess of 90 days.

(2) If any employee in medical category A has been periodically medically examined at any time within one year prior to his attaining the age of 45, his next medical examination should be held one year from the due date of the last medical examination and subsequent medical examination annually thereafter.

If, however, such an employee has been medically examined, at any time earlier, than one year prior to his attaining the age of 45, his next medical examination should be held on the date he attains the age of 45 and subsequent medical examination annually thereafter.

Ammendment: It was ammended in 1993 as below

Age Group PME Due

Age 00-45 every 4yrs

Age 45-55 every 2yrs

Age 55-60 every year
As per Rly Bd's Guideline of Medical Exam issued vide LNo. 88/H/5/12 dated 24-01-1993

a) PME would be done at the termination of every period of 4 years from date of appointment / Initial medical Exam till the date of attainment of age of 45 years, every 2 years upto 55 years & there after annual till retirement.
b) Employees who has been periodically examined at any time within 2years prior to his attaining the age of 45years would be examined after 2years from the date of last PME & subsequent PME for every 2years upto 55years age.Of

NRMU 4 you

6.1.2. Classes B-1 and B-2—On attaining the age of 45 years, and thereafter at the termination of every period of five years.