Indian Railways has sought details of call records of cell phones of all of its train drivers and assistant loco pilots given to them by the public transporter to see if they use them while driving trains, which can distract them from their primary duties and endanger the lives of passengers.
All Indian Railways train drivers and assistant loco pilots are to furnish details of cell phones and numbers given to them by the Railways as part of its closed user group (CUG) plan and the call records would be analysed to see that if they use mobiles while driving trains, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
As per the rules, loco pilot and his assistant are supposed to keep their phones switched off while running trains.
However, the decision of the Indian Railways to analyse call records of its engine drivers and their assistants have enraged them. They view it as “intrusion on privacy”.
“We are opposed to the decision of seeking call details of loco pilots,” secretary general of the All India Loco Running Staff Association MN Prasad said.
Currently, there are about 70,000 drivers and assistant drivers in Indian Railways.
Prasad further said “Though it is true that using phones during train operations is not good for safety point of view but sometime drivers talk with their family members in emergency. So analysing the call records is against privacy of drivers.”
Asked about their plan of action against the move, Prasad said “Besides call records, we have some other issues regrading facilities and pay disparities. We want all these issues to be solved at the earliest otherwise we are planning to go on hunger strike on December 14-15.”
However, Indian Railways maintain that the exercise is not against privacy of drivers. “It is only to ensure adherence to rules keeping safety in mind.” the official said.
There are many cases of train drivers ignoring signals which could be possibly because they were distracted.
Indian Railways want to ensure that cell phones are not contributing to the problem.