Hyderabad: A major reason behind train accidents, including derailments, is said to be the shortage of manpower even as the railways is expanding its network.
The East Coast Railway, where the accident occurred, has 15,000 vacancies; among them are 2,500 vacancies for gangmen and trackmen who perform the actual surveillance duties.
The SCR has about 20,000 vacancies, 3,000 of them for gangmen and trackmen posts. According to information obtained from the ministry by railway employees’ unions earlier, about 1.42 lakh posts in the safety category are lying vacant. About one third of the vacancies are in the Southern, South Central, South Eastern, South-East Central and South Western railways, totalling 44,647.
All India Railmen Federation zonal secretary P. Yugandhar said, “Indian Railways face a shortage of about 3 lakh personnel in various categories. The existing staff is loaded with other work, and workers from a few categories like gangmen and trackmen are working 14 hours a day. The Centre is insisting that the Railways surrender 3 per cent of posts from the existing vacancies.”
He said the Railway Board goes in for recruitments only when unions protest. “But the process takes a year to recruit staff and train them, Meanwhile, thousands of employees are retiring,” he said....