Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw defends loco pilot's conditions amid political controversy

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw addresses misinformation about loco pilots, highlighting improvements in working conditions and recruitment efforts.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.File Photo

NEW DELHI: Amid recent controversies sparked by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's meeting with loco pilots in Delhi, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw addressed concerns with clarity. In a statement posted on social media platform "X", Vaishnaw emphasized the crucial role of loco pilots within the railway family and aimed to dispel misinformation spread by the opposition.

"Loco pilots are integral members of our railway operations," Vaishnaw stated. He highlighted the meticulous monitoring of their duty hours to ensure adequate rest periods. According to the minister, average duty hours in June remained below eight hours, with exceptions only under exigent circumstances.

Vaishnaw pointed out significant improvements in working conditions, particularly the upgrade of over 7,000 loco cabs to include ergonomic seats and air conditioning since 2014. He also mentioned enhancements in off-duty facilities, noting that nearly all 558 running rooms are now air-conditioned, a stark improvement from conditions before 2014.

"In many running rooms, foot massagers have been installed for the comfort of loco pilots," Vaishnaw added, addressing criticism from the Congress party, which he claimed misunderstood the working environment of loco pilots.

The minister also discussed recent recruitment efforts, revealing that 34,000 running staff have been hired in recent years, with an additional 18,000 currently undergoing recruitment processes. He condemned what he described as attempts by the opposition to demoralize the railway community with false narratives.

"The attempt to demoralize the railway family with fake news will not succeed," Vaishnaw asserted. "The entire rail parivar is united in its commitment to serving our nation."

Vaishnaw's statements come in response to political uproar following Rahul Gandhi's interactions with loco pilots, aiming to set the record straight on the working conditions and welfare measures for these essential railway personnel.

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