मुंबई Mumbai: In an incident, in what railway officials are admitting as a very disturbing case of miscommunication, a Western Railway workman was electrocuted and left severely burnt because the power supply to the overhead wire he was supposed to repair was not turned off.
According to WR officials, workman Avinash Pawar got electrocuted moments after he climbed up a local train stabled on line 7 of the Mumbai Central car shed around 11.45pm on Saturday. According to car shed workers, the power supply was switched off on line 5, but due to miscommunication, Pawar thought the power block — railway lingo for turning off of power supply — was on line 7.
The workers added that Pawar turned into a ball of fire the moment one of the equipment he had in his hands touched the overhead wire crackling with 25,000 volts of electricity. He fell from the roof of the train and, in the process, also severely injured himself.
Pawar was rushed to WR’s Jagjivan Ram hospital from where he was shifted to Masina hospital in Byculla, which has a specialised burns unit.
Incensed workers at the car sheds in Mumbai Central, Kandivli and Virar, the three places where city’s local trains are repaired, struck work for more than two hours on Monday demanding that authorities get a hold over the deteriorating safety scenario at such workshops.
A senior workman from the Mumbai Central car shed said, “In the earlier days, there was a token and key system, which wouldn’t have let a miscommunication like this happen. As per the system, the workman climbing up to repair an overhead wire was give a token by the electrician who switched off the power. The power remained switched off till the workman returned and deposited the token at the electric section.”
Later on Monday, officials from WR’s electrical department as well as various unions held meetings to ensure that no such mishap occurred in the future. Officials said newer safety mechanisms would have to be thought of as the number of trains coming in for repairs on a daily basis at the three car sheds is increasing with every passing day.
Yet in another incident, Mohan More (25), a Khalasi (Helper) was electrocuted when he came in contact with live overhead equipment (OHE) wires between Kalwa and Mumbra stations. The workers’ union blamed negligence on the part of supervisory staff for the mishap and threatened to disrupt train services if appropriate action was not taken against those responsible for the incident.
Mohan was busy cutting branches of trees to prevent them from infringing the railway tracks when he met with the accident. Safdar Siddiqui, divisional secretary, Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh (CRMS), said, “The junior engineer should have taken the power block on the section, which is running on 25kV alternating current (AC). How can such risky work be carried out with the power kept on?”
CRMS has demanded those working on the AC section be properly trained so that there is no repeat of Sunday’s incident. He said, “The victim was not experienced as he had joined the profession only three months ago.”