MUMBAI: A wedding function in the family of a Central Railway guard turned out to be a nightmarish experience for commuters on Sunday. As many as 14 guards skipped their duty to attend this function that led to massive absenteeism, resulting in cancellation of 20 services.
The problem occurred at CST during the non-peak hours but the impact was enormous as CR runs few services due to a megablock on Sunday compared to the weekday timetable. A majority of commuters who bore the burnt were families and kids who had ventured out for pre-Diwali shopping.
A CR official said, “On an average, 50 guards are assigned duty during evening peak hours. But 14 of them did not turn up on the pretext that they had to attend the wedding. This is a frivolous reason.”
Usually, guards on duty are happy to work overtime in case of absenteeism as they earn additional income. The official said, “But on Sunday, guards on duty refused to do overtime. This compounded the problem. We have decided to take action against the erring guards and their supervisors for holding commuters to ransom.”
The official said, “We cannot suspend these offenders but they will be forced to take cut in increments.”
The problem began around 7.30pm, forcing senior officials to rush to CST on Sunday to make alternate arrangements. Many trains were running 20-30 minutes behind the schedule. Dombivli commuter Rohan E L said, “Fast trains for Asangaon did not leave the station 30 minutes after departure time. So, slow trains were packed.”
Kalyan commuter Rajan Sarode said, “I had to miss three trains a miss as it was difficult to get inside.” Snag delays trains C R services on the main line were affected for 20 minutes on Monday after a technical problem in a CST-bound train between 1.10am and 1.24pm at Matunga. During this period, CST-bound slow services were diverted on the fast line. As many as four locals were locked behind the affected trains.