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Loco pilots oppose CCTV surveillance

Union railway ministry is yet to introduce CCTV surveillance on its locomotives in the south, but loco pilots here are already on a warpath against the proposed move. All India Loco Running Staff Association (ALRSA) has raised some uncomfortable questions that could get on the nerves of their bosses in the zonal headquarters.

Loco pilots oppose CCTV surveillance
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Chennai

Loco pilots have in fact dubbed on board CCTV surveillance in the locos as an additional strain on them and wondered why the officers wanted to install CCTV cameras on locomotives in lieu of lavatories and better furniture for loco pilots. As soon as rail managers here had unofficially discussed the possibility of retrofitting CCTV cams in diesel locomotives cabins, as did the ministry on a few sections on a pilot basis in north India, loco pilots have ganged up against the proposal and even stated mobilizing its members by meeting them personally across the zone of late.

“It will only help them fix accountability on a few hapless loco pilots by conducting post mortem after eventualities. Will cameras optimize safety? It will only increase the stress on us. If they are so keen on optimizing safety, they should have streamlined the working schedule of loco pilots. Unlike flight pilots, ship captains and truckers, we cannot afford to sleep during the journey,” explained a senior loco pilot requesting anonymity, adding that loco pilots are being pressurized to work for four successive nights, which has been taking a toll on them.

In fact, a loco pilot in Palakkad division was nearly charge sheeted last week for refusing to pilot the train for the fourth consecutive day. “The pilot was finally forced to go on a three-day sick leave sans duty by officers. He just needed a night’s sleep. We have made a representation to the department in this regard,” said an ALRSA officer-bearer. 

Curiously, a May 1, 2017 circular of Chennai division (copy available with DTNext) has instructed planners to limit continuous night duties to two nights for cabin crew and ensure periodic rests.

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