Railways staff fear proposal to set up AC Loco maintenance shed may cost their jobs
The proposal of the railways to set up an AC loco maintenance shed in Ernakulam has kicked up a row with railway employees alleging that the move is political in nature.
According to officials, the railways has set aside `20 crore for setting up the AC loco shed on the Ernakulam junction premises.
A letter has been forwarded by the General Manager of the Southern Railways to the Railway Board for approval.
The decision to set up the AC loco shed was taken as most of the trains in the Thiruvananthapuram division ran on electric engines, the officials said. However, the railway employees allege that the move to set up the AC loco shed and in turn transfer the diesel loco shed from Kerala to Tamil Nadu or Karnataka was political.
They said the move was a huge blow to the 350 employees currently working in the diesel loco shed, which is Kerala’s only diesel engine maintenance facility.
Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) divisional president P Unnikrishnan said since the repair and maintenance work of diesel locos is different from electric engines, it is also highly unlikely that these employees will be reinstated.
“We are not against the construction of a new AC loco shed here. However, if there is any move to shift the diesel shed to a different place, the management should take us into confidence. There is a huge possibility that the employees will be transferred to other locations, i.e., to other states where the diesel shed will be relocated. We demand that the management either withdraw the move or hold talks with us in this regard to allay the fears of the employees,” Unnikrishnan said.
The SRMU will observe black day on Monday and is gearing up for a statewide agitation in the coming days.
Railway officials here said there were possibilities to set up the AC loco shed without disturbing the diesel loco shed.
“However, we have not been given any briefing regarding this because the proposal is in the initial stages,” Ernakulam area manager P L Ashok Kumar said.