New Delhi: It may sound bizarre but its true, the train drivers' association has approached National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over 'inhumane and cruel' working conditions.
According to a report in the Times of India, about 69,000 locomotive drivers for 19,000 trains in the country have complained they are working in cruel conditions and don't get a break, even for few minutes, to eat something or to attend nature's call.
According to these drivers, the 12-hour shifts were leading to huge mental and physical stress as the railway engines, where they have to work, do not have toilets.
The Indian Railway Loco Running Men's Organization (IRLRO) has approached NHRC and the matter is pending for hearing.
However, the railway management believes it is not possible to give a break to the drivers during their shift timings as it may go against the passengers' safety. Halting a train to answer nature's call or have refreshments may cause unnecessary delay in the journey.
"It's only Indian Railways which do not give breaks to its drivers. Loco drivers hardly get weekoffs after long shifts. In Delhi Metro, drivers are allowed to take a 40-minute break after every three-hour work. Even airline pilots are also allowed to take an adequate break," said SK Pandhi, working president of IRLRO.
Pandhi also alleged that drivers are also often asked to do odd jobs like personal works at officers' houses.