An unfortunate accident involving a railway employee working at Lower Parel workshop has once again triggered an argument of the need for a biometric attendance system and overall welfare of rail employees. On January 20, electrician Santosh Gunjal while doing coach repairs, allegedly tripped and fell on equipment. Following this, on Friday, the rail unions and several employees working at Lower Parel Workshop went on a protest allegedly for 3-hours from 8am, as claimed by the rail unions.
On January 20, rail electrician Santosh Gunjal (44) while working on coach repairs and maintenance, met with an accident. He tripped and fell on equipment during the course of his duty causing him grievous injury. Santosh was rushed to the nearby Lower Parel Dispensary in an ambulance, which according to railway administration is always on the standby in the workshop for immediate medical attention.
“For further treatment, he was immediately taken to Western Railway’s Jagjivan Ram Hospital. He was in the Hospital within 30 minutes of the mishap. Here, a detailed medical examination was conducted including x-ray, sonography, C T Scan, etc. and all the best possible medical attention and treatment were being provided,” said Sumit Thakur, Chief PRO, Western Railway.
But unfortunately, due to internal injuries in his abdomen, Santosh Gunjal could not survive and left for his heavenly abode 3.30am after the accident. In fact last night even the General Manager of Western Railway; Alok Kansal visited the workshop and the accident late night at around 12.30 am on January 20-21 to take stock of the situation.
Senior WR officials said that the General Manager closely reviewed all the safety arrangements at the Workshop. “He also enquired regarding timely provision of medical assistance and attention. Further directions were given to provide all assistance to the family of the employee in every way possible. Internal enquiry has been already ordered,” said a WR official.
On January 21, many workers from the Workshop gathered in the morning. They protested from 8am that went on for nearly 3 hours. The rail employees complained about the unwarranted pressure from the administration, unofficial curtailed lunch hours and rest time among other things. They claim that the officers monitor the movement of rail workers.
“The rail employees here are certainly angered and pained by the death of their fellow colleague and so went on to protest. We have demanded better welfare towards employees which we also discussed with the rail administration. One of the reasons for stress certainly is the biometric attendance system as rail employees here have to rush for work for punching on time,” said S Mungekar, chairman (Lower Parel Workshop branch), Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh.
Later, these employees were addressed by the Chief Workshop Manager there and other officers of the Workshop. “There was no strike and workers had assembled to discuss the issue. A 2 minutes silence was observed to pay obeisance to the departed soul. Further, the employees while appreciating various improvements in the Workshop, also put forward some more demands for their welfare. They were advised to meet CWM and other Officers at their convenience at any time regarding that,” added Thakur. The rail authorities claim that by noon all the workers dispersed to their respective workplaces. And that the administration has extended all legal benefits to the family of the deceased employee.