The innovative efforts of B Selvam, Senior Section Engineer at Carriage and Wagon works in Chennai, to control pests on railway coaches, has earned him the Prime Minister’s Shram Vir award.
Selvam, who has been working for the past 28 years in the Southern Railway’s coaching maintenance depots at Gopalsamy Nagar and Basin Bridge, received the award on Wednesday for his innovative method to control pests and rodents on the railway coaches through the Fumigation Chamber at the IOH depot in Basin Bridge.
He was honoured by Rakesh Mishra, General Manager of Southern Railways, who also appreciated his service towards the improvement of Railways, such as designing of sliding doors for toilets in coaches and the crashworthy features of coaches that fetched them the title ‘Southern Queen’.
“The efforts behind the fumigation chambers should be appreciated. This pest control device has effectively reduced pests and rodents in air conditioned coaches, as the number of complaints has drastically reduced since its introduction last year,” said Rakesh Mishra.
Special trains and maintenance issues at Basin Bridge
Later, speaking on the occasion, Mishra said that the special trains for Deepavali will be operated soon after the Dusshera, though the details on the number of special trains are yet to be announced.
The Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) voiced their concern over the maintenance of Basin Bridge, especially the railway pit-lines. They claimed that they did not have basic amenities and were forced to sleep on the platforms.
“Workers like us are not provided basic facilities. We come early in the morning to work but there is no place to rest. The railway pit-lines are not clean. In spite of this we work,” said Ramakrishnan, a worker attached to SRMU. “We raise this issue every time a senior official visits the place, but no action has been taken for the past 10 years,” he rued.
When asked about this, Rakesh Mishra said that the Ministry had reduced the allocation for maintenance here.
He said, “We are aware of the cleanliness issues and we are looking into it. But it will take time.”
He also mentioned that the Basin Bridge was the biggest railway service area where 1,600 coaches had been maintained and necessary steps to improve the conditions here would be considered.