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Staggered working hours for staff safety, says CR DRM

By, Mumbai
Oct 31, 2023 05:52 AM IST

Central Railway (CR) in Mumbai has implemented staggered working hours for its staff to reduce overcrowding on local trains. The new hours of 9.30am to 5.45pm and 11.30am to 7.45pm were due to begin in December, but were brought forward to 1 November. The divisional railway manager for Mumbai, Rajnish Kumar Goyal, organised meetings with employees, unions and fellow rail officers to ensure the changes were feasible. Goyal also plans to write to government organisations and private companies to encourage them to adopt staggered working hours.

Eight years after the idea of staggered working hours was first proposed, Central Railway (CR) was to implement it for its staff from December. But Rajnish Kumar Goyal, divisional railway manager (Mumbai) of CR and the brain behind the concept, decided not to wait and begin from November 1. “Since we have been preaching about flexible work timings for offices all these years, we decided to put this in practice as well,” he said.

Mumbai, India - Oct 30, 2023 : People crowded at Borivali Railway Station due to 6th Line ongoing work between Khar to Goregaon, in Mumbai, India, Monday, Oct 30, 2023. (Photo by Vijay Bate/HT Photo)

Goyal, who has 2,500-odd staffers working at CSMT who travel long distances from different parts of Mumbai, held meetings with his employees, railway unions and fellow rail officers to ensure that it was feasible to implement dual work hours of 9.30 am to 5.45 pm and 11.30 am to 7.45 pm. For the next few days, the CR authorities will monitor this change in work timings.

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A major motivating factor for the DRM was the number of accidents that happen on the local railway from overcrowding. “Anyone can be a victim,” he said. “This is my way of ensuring that my staff commutes safely. I want more government organisations and private companies to encourage staggered and flexible working hours. After November 1, we will send letters to corporates, MNCs, the BMC and government offices to urge them to adopt this working pattern.” Goyal has been getting congratulatory calls from railway officers, serving and retired, for his decision to finally implement something that was unthinkable.

Meanwhile, in a bid to prevent commuters from illegally walking on rail tracks and accessing platforms from their sloping ends, CR has now begun identifying the slopes and will cut them. Goyal gave the example of Thane station where people access the station via the Thane creek bridge to save a few minutes though this could be life-threatening. The other locations where trespassing is high are Wadala, Parsik and Raoli Junction.

“We will demolish 171 ramps out of the 286 across all railway stations in the suburban section,” said another CR official. Railway officials claim that over 60 percent of deaths on the rail tracks happen due to trespassing on the railway lines.

CR has also tied up with several private hospitals in the vicinity of railway stations where accident victims can be ferried. MoUs with over 50 hospitals have been signed in the past few days, and 26 other stations are being surveyed to identify the closest hospitals there. “The initial cost of admission, medicines and necessary procedures will be borne by the railways,” said a CR official. “Once the victim has stabilised, the patient or family can decide if they want to shift to another hospital.”

Meanwhile, WR has reduced the number of train cancellations that were earlier announced due to ongoing work on the 6th line between Khar and Goregaon stations. Officials said that to provide a respite to passengers, only 248 cancellations were done as against the 316 announced for Monday. Similarly, on October 31, WR will cancel 233 train services against the earlier announced 316 services.

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