Huge dearth of loco pilots in TVM, Palakkad divisions
Alappuzha: The shortage of staff in railways has started affecting the smooth functioning. Vacancies of loco pilots were listed on top. This has affected the Thiruvananthapuram division the most.
According to the official report of Indian railways, the total number of vacancies count up to 1,10,000. This number includes 50,000 loco pilots from 70 divisions of the 17 zones, 15,000 vacancies of other staffs and vacancies of Group-D staffs.
The reasons for the huge dearth of loco pilots results from the VRS scheme, the excess retirements reported in the last 5 years and vacancies created by the increase in number of trains.
Over 900 vacancies of loco pilots are reported in Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad division. There are 180 daily train schedules in Kerala. The current insufficiency of staffs is made up by extra working time and avoiding leaves.
Presently, a loco pilot has to work from 8 to 10 hours. A passenger train needs only one loco pilot and assistant loco pilot in a day but an express and super-fast trains require 3-4 loco pilots and assistant loco pilots.
Kerala has less number of loco pilots as the number of trains in the state are less. Malayali loco pilots who work in other zones have applied for transfer to Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad divisions. But the new appointments were blocked after Malayalli loco pilots filed a plea to the central administrative tribunal to consider them for the vacancies of loco pilots in these divisions. Hence the vacancies of loco pilots here are not filled yet.
However, the authorities of Thiruvananthapuram division said that the written exam for the vacancies have been completed. After conducting interview and training, the new appointments will be done. Decision of tribunal also will be taken into consideration for the appointments.