- Officers continued to make rosters while sitting at home, special works are still continued like TTM Packing, cable meggering, endangered dozens of employees and families
- COVID-19 has not been tested even with the station master, signal staffs and trackmen who work together
- whole RRI Tower cabin likely to be infected, steps not yet taken to protect
- On April 21, Pointman, who was involved in TTM Block of Pt.312, feared exposure to several trackmen
Railhunt Bureau, Ahmedabad
Railway personnel are now forced to bear the brunt of the arbitrariness of the officials in the Ahmedabad Division of Western Railway. Despite the Prime Minister’s guidelines for lockdown and constant opposition from unions, the rules of social distancing in the Engineering and Signal Department were constantly ignored and signal staffs and trackmen are forced to work on TTM Packing and Cable Meggering work which is not an essential but specialised works. Constant TTM schedules are made and in this work a large number of railway personnel were present at one place. It is also continuously opposed and warned from various forums, but the officials did not listen and even did the special works which is not essential in nature in which compliance of social distancing is practically not possible.
A pointsman posted at Ahmedabad RRI has been found to be Corona positive. His father is dead due to COVID-19. On April 22, he was taken to Sabarmati Railway Hospital due to ill health. From there he was sent to civil hospital in Ahmedabad. Here on April 23, he was tested for corona positive. Exactly a day later on April 24, Pointman’s mother also began to deteriorate. He was also admitted to the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. She was also tested Covid-19 positive. On the same day the pointsman’s father was shifted to the ventilator. He died at three o’clock on the night of 25 April. On the same night, the pointsman’s mother was also shifted to the ventilator due to deteriorating health. In the investigation conducted here on 27th April, the pointsman has also been found to be Corona positive. This has caused panic in the entire railway.
This RRI Pointsman lives in ‘Pathani ki Chaal’, in front of Vikram Mill, Saraspur in Ahmedabad where several houses have already been quarantined after frequent cases of COVID-19. After this incident, the administration has also quarantined the pointsman’s residence. The corona test of his wife, a daughter and two sons has not been done so far despite the death of one family member, the other going on ventilator yesterday. In the aftermath of this incident, many RRI staff performed duty in contact with Pointsman have been quarantined. Interestingly, this Pointsman was in piloting of the train during TTM block on Pt.312 taken on April 21who may have come in contact with several other trackmen and Signal staffs but so far no one is identified and checked for any infection by the railways. Even no Trackmen or Signal staffs are quarantined yet for having in contact with this Pointsman.
After all, why did railway officials not pay attention to it despite repeated warnings? On whose orders did the TTM deliberately push the railwaymen into the furnace of infection? Currently more than two dozen railway personnel have been sent to Quarantine, if the situation of them and the family worsens, who will be responsible for this infection?
In another development, the Ahmedabad RRI technician signal has also been put into quarantine on April 25 after the administration found his wife infected with COVID-19. Technician Signal’s wife is a nurse in the civil hospital and working in COVID-19 ward, who lives with the family in the quarters of the hospital premises. Seeing the duty in the wife’s hospital, the staff of the signal department constantly warned the departmental officials about the possibility of possible infection and also requested not to call the said signal technician signal on duty. It is said that SSE / Signal (Incharge) RRI S K Yadav did not pay any heed to the matter and kept calling the said technician signal on duty. As a result, after the transition of technician signal’s wife to COVID-19, family members including her technician signal husband posted in RRI have also been quarantined. With this, four assistants and two station masters who came in contact with the said technician signal have also been sent to Quarantine. While between April 20 and April 26, more than a dozen railway workers worked with the said technician signal but they have neither been investigated nor quarantined yet. After bringing the infection to one Pointsman and the family of two staffs of RRI Ahmedabad and quarantining one Signal Technician and the family with them, the question is being raised as to why the railway authorities did not pay heed despite repeated warnings. Despite the regular guidelines and warning of the Prime Minister, why were not necessary measures taken for social distancing and special works are not stopped yet? On whose orders did the special works like TTM Packing deliberately push the railwaymen into the furnace of infection? Till now more than two dozen railway personnel have been sent to home Quarantine, if the situation of them and the family worsens, who will be responsible for this infection? According to RRI Ahmedabad staffs only once a flat mask and a small bottle of 100 ml hand sanitizer were distributed among them even when staffs were demanded by staffs the officials were advised to purchase with their own for their own safety. Action is warned when raising questions for social distancing.
The union has consistently requested not to carry out TTM work and non-essential works in the current situation. Despite this, cable Megring and TTM work continued to be run. The Chairman of the Railway Board has also instructed the staff required for essential goods trains to be put on duty only on rotation, but the compliance of this order is nowhere to be seen. Today a large number of railway personnel are at the mouth of infection – Alok Chandra Prakash, General Secretary, Indian Railways S&T Maintainers’ Union
Alok Chandra, National General Secretary of Indian Railways S&T Maintainers’ Union, has directly blamed top officials for the worsening situation of COVID-19 infection. Alok Chandra told to Railhunt that he had already requested to Railway officials and tweeted not to carry out TTM work and those non-essential works in the present situation. Despite this, the work of Magring and TTM continued. While the Chairman, Railway Board has also instructed all the officers to put only the essential staff on duty for essential goods trains, that too in rotation. But this did not show any effect on S&T officials as well as on Engineering officials. By keeping the pressure, the officials are continuing the routine work as well as special works, the result of which has come to the fore today to keep large number of employees in quarantine. Alok Chandra has also requested DRM Ahmedabad to provide immediate assistance to the Pointsman family sent in Quarantine. Pointman’s children are alone in the house, while Pointman and his family members have not been investigated yet. In such a situation, a member of his family has been already lost his life, it has been requested to refer the mother of Pointsman to Narayana Hospital for better treatment.
100% attendance of trackmen violates lockdown
In such a worse situation, railway trackmen are carrying out the work on daily basis regularly. However, contrary to the lockdown rules, the railway administration is ensuring 100% attendance of trackmen, thereby violating the rules of lockdown and social distancing everywhere. A large number of trackmen on duty have an increased risk of contracting the disease due to herding and working and when any trackman refuses to work in the group, a photo of the Trackmen is sent to Sr.DEN (CO)Ahmedabad. In this way, new work is being done by applying different types of pressure to the trackmen to work under mental stress.