Coronavirus in Mumbai: Central Railway reduces staff by 93 per cent at its workshops

Mumbai: Day after a video of social distancing took a tumble on the workmen's special local train on Central Railway (CR), the administration has now decided to reduce the number of employees by 93 per cent working at the workshop. Earlier, 7,500 employees were reporting on work which has now decreased to 500.

This comes after the railway officials had a meeting at Matunga workshop discussing over reducing the workers until lockdown is implemented to avoid spreading of infection.

Venu Nair, general secretary of National Railway Mazdoor Union said the railway authorities have taken this decision to reduce overcrowding in workmen's special trains and have also advised to provide essential coaching service to ensure smooth train movement. “We welcome the move of the railway and now only 500 workers including officials will report on duty. Moreover, the other clerical offices have also been instructed to come on duty below 30 per cent, only if required,” he said.

Meanwhile, another railway employee explained that trolley service comes under the essential activity in any workshops so it cannot be stopped. Since the railway is carrying out the transportation of essential goods and running special trains. But he questioned that all workshops in --Matunga, Lower Parel, and Mahalaxmi come under the 'Red zone' area so how is it operational?

“Since Lower Parel and Mahalaxmi workshops are close to each other and a few surrounding buildings namely Madhav Bhuvan have reported suspected COVID cases the entry of the workshop has been changed. Now employees posted in these workshops are advised to come from the other entry point from railway tracks,” said railway workers.

Moreover, several workers posted here stay in the Dharavi, Worli and other COVID reported areas so will it not increase the chances of spreading of virus? To prevent the infection what measures the railway will be taking should also be told.

“For instance, the airline whenever ask their employees to report on duty; for doing essential service, they are screened, tested and only if they are found without any symptoms they are further allowed to work. Moreover, every crew is provided with PPE kits, similar measures should be adopted for Railway employees who are doing essential service?” questioned workers.

Senior railway officials said they are taking all necessary precautions for their employees who are reporting to the work. “We are following all guidelines and norms issued by the state and central government. Moreover all workers are screened before they enter the office or workshop premises,” he said. However the railway officials did not comment on reducing number of employees at Matunga workshop.

Meanwhile, Western Railway has decided to run a workmen's special local train on Sunday.

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