Protective Gear, Modern Tools for the Footsoldiers of the Indian Railways

SECUNDERABAD: New sets of protective clothing, special footwear, modern light weight tools and adequate rest rooms are on the anvil for the footsoldiers of the Indian Railways, the unseen lower-level staff keeping vigil on the tracks to ensure smooth running of trains and making it safer for millions of passengers across the country.

Protective clothing for the track patrolmen will be in addition to the uniforms and special shoes with steel toes for keymen, patrolmen and others to withstand extreme climatic conditions as they have to walk on the ballasted tracks for long stretches have been recommended by a high level committee and accepted by the Railway Board.

A four-member panel consisting of General Managers of South Central Railway (SCR) V.K. Yadav, Northern Railway (NR) Vishwesh Chaubey and Central Railway (CR) D.K. Sharma along with the Executive Director (Civil) Transformation Tushar Kant Pandey as the convenor reviewed the uniforms and tool kits for the trackmen, interacted with staff and came out with the changes necessary.

“We have considered innovations done and best practices being followed by various railways in safety gears, tools and protective equipment used as per the local and environment conditions,” said Mr. Yadav, in a recent exclusive interaction.

Rain coat with cap/hood and a separate waterproof trouser once a year, winter jacket once in two years, clothing for sub-zero climate like in Kashmir will have jacket, trouser, gloves, snow boots and cap which are to be sourced from ordnance factories once in two years, safety shoes once in six months, luminous vest once in six months and safety helmets with detachable miner’s lights once a year are to be procured.

A new tool kit bag developed by the Pune division of the CE or the Firozpur division of NR has been considered appropriate for use by the patrolmen and this is to be supplied to all track maintainers.

Light weight improvised tools such as spanner, hammer, crowbar, mortar pan, etc. and tricolour LED three cell rechargeble torch with unbreakable front once a year is to be provided.

Restrooms at each station or level crossings with private lockers, power and water facility have been mooted for the trackmen for changing clothes and collecting their tools. These are to be built at each railway station or level crossings in a phased manner with funds sourced from track renewal works.

The panel also noted resentment against unification of cadre of keymen, patrolmen, watchmen and mates. It has come out with measures for more promotion avenues, higher risk allowances of Rs. 6000 to Rs. 10,500 up from Rs. 2,700-3,400 for keymen/mates; enhanced allowances to watchmen between Rs. 4,100 and Rs. 5,300, and artisans between Rs. 2,700 and Rs. 3,400.