Mumbai: Western railway's senior official surprises track maintainers on their birthdays

"It was the first time when some officer recognised this special day for me and celebrated it, It made me emotional" added Munna Kumar.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Friday, April 08, 2022, 07:39 AM IST
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Birthdays are special days for most of us but they become extra special when they are remembered and celebrated at work. On Wednesday, such a celebration took place, of all places, on the railway tracks. A senior official of Western Railway celebrated the birthday of a track maintainer who was on duty at the railway tracks near Andheri station.

At an ongoing inspection, Arvind Kumar, senior section engineer, WR’s Mumbai Central division of the Andheri section, heard from other staff about it being the birthday of one of his track maintainers, Munna Kumar. Immediately, Arvind Kumar arranged for a cake, which befittingly, was cut on the track between Andheri and Jogeshwari, the place where Munna Kumar is at work.

“It was just another day at work for him until I showed up with the cake,” said Arvind Kumar. “When we started singing ‘Happy Birthday’, he became really emotional. I’ll never forget the look of bewilderment first, and then joy, on his face as he slowly realised what was going on.” Arvind Kumar told the FPJ on Thursday.

“It was around 1pm and the hottest time of the day. I noticed my boss coming towards me, walking on the tracks, unaware of his plan (my birthday celebration!). I began to work with extra diligence,” said Munna Kumar, adding, “when he wished me, I was speechless.”

“It was the first time that an officer remembered my special day and celebrated it. It made me emotional,” he disclosed.

“It’s not only a morale booster but has increased the respect of all train maintainers who are forced to work through summer, winter or thunder and rain,” said Munna Kumar.

“Munna Kumar works in the safety category throughout the day in scorching heat to serve Railways but has never experienced such a gesture, motivating him and his team members,” said a WR official.

Munna Kumar, 28, is a graduate from Bhagalpur, Bihar, and joined the WR as a track maintainer in 2019 and shifted to Mumbai. Since 2019, he has been continuously working in the WR’s Mumbai Central division. He has been living in Andheri east with his wife for the last two years.

Asked about the nature of his job, Munna Kumar said, “Track maintainers need to walk along the track, checking the condition of the track, attending to minor works like tightening/ providing clamps, joints etc. Track maintainers are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the railway track.”

Speaking about his surprise birthday celebration, he said, “When I was leaving for work on Wednesday, my wife wished me and said as usual, ‘Try and get home on time in the evening.’ I had told her that the work schedule for the day was a little hard, as there was a live inspection of tracks by superiors scheduled. However, she said, ‘I can understand your problem, but please do try. After the unexpected birthday celebration on the track, when I informed her, she too was surprised. Because neither of us would have expected such a gesture from the boss.”

On being told about the surprise event, Ajay Kumar Singh, a leader of the Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh, said, “I don’t remember such a birthday celebration for a gangman (track maintainer) on the track while working, by railway officers. It’s definitely a good move, other officers should also take a cue. Such a gesture not only boosts the morale of our fourth class workers, but also increases the bonding between officers and workers, which will definitely improve performance as well as the level of dedication.”

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