Lot of misinformation by opposition to demotivate our loco pilots, alleges Vaishnaw

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI) Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday said loco pilots are important members of the railway family and alleged that there is lot of misinformation and theatrics by the opposition to demotivate them.

Vaishnaw took to X to highlight various steps taken by the Railways to improve the working condition of train drivers.

"Duty hours of loco pilots are carefully monitored. Rest is provided meticulously after trips. The average duty hours are maintained within prescribed hours," he wrote.

"The average is less than 8 hours in the month of June this year. Only under exigencies, the trip duration exceeds the prescribed hours," he added.

Last week, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi met a group of loco pilots, who complained of "inadequate rest due to understaffing".

Gandhi assured them that he would raise their issues in Parliament.

According to Vaishnaw, pilots operate locomotives from loco cab and before 2014, cabs were in very bad shape.

"Since 2014, cabs have been improved with ergonomic seats, and more than 7,000 loco cabs are air conditioned. New locomotives are manufactured with AC cabs," he said.

Talking about off-duty resting facility, the railway minister said, "When pilots complete a trip, they come to running room for rest if they are out of headquarters. Before 2014, running rooms were in very bad shape. Almost all (558) running rooms are now air conditioned." "In many running rooms, foot massagers are also provided. Incidentally, this was criticised by Congress without understanding the working conditions of loco pilots," he added.

He also laid emphasis on the recruitment process claiming that in the past few years, major recruitment exercise was completed and 34,000 running staff have been recruited.

"Recruitment process for 18,000 running staff is currently in process," Vaishnaw said.

"The attempt to demoralise railway family with fake news will fail. The entire rail parivar is united in serving our country," he added. PTI JP ZMN

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