The Railways has asked its zonal offices to prepare a blueprint to ensure that field staffers such as trackmen, gangmen and section officers are not harassed for delays in maintenance work.
The decision was taken after the Commissioner of Railway Safety (Northern Zone), in his final report on the August 19, 2017 derailment of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express, suggested that the railways should device a mechanism through which it can stop harassment and the ensuing blame game as it affects morale and above everything else takes away the decision-making ability of the field staff.
Highlighting the section on the field staff in the report, Chairman of the Railway Board Ahwani Lohani said, “This is more relevant. In addition, we need to encourage our staff to take proactive steps to obviate the unsafe condition.”
The letter from the board has asked the zonal railways to ensure implementation of the recommendations and submit an action taken report on the same.
Officials say that there are times when blocks are taken by the field staff, mostly for maintenance works, and the work is not completed on time. As a result of which many trains get delayed.
“While the staffer has to give an explanation as to the cause of the delay, but he also faces a lot of harassment on site. Passengers yell at them, they get blamed by seniors and basically, it becomes a huge issue. The fact is that the delay is caused to ensure that the work is complete which in turn ensures safety,” said a senior official.
The officials said that the letter from the board was part of a drive of the Railway Ministry to ensure that all across the network, staffers, especially field-level workers such as trackmen, gangmen, section officers, are content with the work they are doing as they are the ones who ensure safety on the tracks.
A few days ago, Lohani had written to general managers of zonal railways and divisional railway managers to ensure that senior officials address their juniors with respect as ‘aap’, and not ‘tu’ or ‘tum’.
He has now also sent another missive to all commercial officers and vigilance officers to treat the ticket checkers with respect and not view them as essentially corrupt.
“I feel that our attitude towards TTEs has not yet improved. They get harassed and exploited by vigilance and routinely punished by commercial officers. When shall we start showing sensitivity towards our front line category? I want things to improve and the TTEs to be treated with dignity and fairly,” he said.