The railway administration and motormen cadre have always had a checkered history. However, for the first time, one of the top railway bosses, the divisional railway manager (DRM) for Mumbai on Western Railway, GVL Satyakumar, has joined the WhatsApp group of motormen to address their grievances and take steps to make their life easier in these torrid times.
The most recent step towards bridging the gap is the revival of ‘briefcase allowance’ that hadn’t been paid for the past few years. A briefcase allowance of Rs 3,000 is paid to every motorman once in three years to buy a bag that he is known to carry on duty for documents, train schedule and a torch. Many years ago, they even carried explosives in their briefcases to alert the authorities and the public against accidents. Nearly 80 per cent of around 450 motormen are eligible for this reimbursement.
Earlier this week, Satyakumar visited the motormen lobby in Churchgate and played a game of carrom with the staff. Sources said since he has joined, at least five to six issues, including the briefcase allowance, have been raised and dealt with amicably. They added that his interest in bridging the differences of motormen with the administration is of paramount importance. “We are all a family,” is all that Satyakumar said.
A senior motorman, on condition of anonymity, said, “It has been a couple of months since the DRM joined our WhatsApp group. This has surely boosted our morale as our grievances are being heard by the top boss and he is also trying to genuinely address our problems.” He said it’s not that motormen don’t want to follow protocol, but they are glad that their issues are at least being heard.
Other issues that have been taken up are regarding promotion, providing RO Water in restrooms and lobbies at railway stations for the staff, repairing air conditioners inside motor-cab (where motormen and guards sit) of local trains and renovation of restrooms.
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