Train services in Kerala partially hit due to drivers’ strike

Sunday, Apr 26, 2015,18:41 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | Train services in southern Kerala were disrupted partially today after loco pilots refused to undergo breath alcohol analyser tests, which is mandatory while reporting to work.
Some local trains were cancelled and few long distance trains got delayed at Ernakulam Junction after loco pilots protested against breath analyser tests to nullify all possibilities of them driving drunk on duty, a Railway spokesman said.
It all started when a loco pilot refused to undergo the test before reporting to drive the Ernakulam-Kayamkulam passenger train at Ernakulam Junction.
He accused Railway of using an unhealthy breath analyser in which the driver had to take a deep breath inside and blow for more than 10 seconds through the mouthpiece attached to the equipment.
The driver said it was unhealthy and virus would be inhaled if such a breath analyzer is used.
According to drivers, all India Loco Running Staff Association has decided not to cooperate with such kind of breath analysing practice, using old and used equipment which is imposed on them by their supervisors in the Railways.
The drivers, however, said they were willing to undergo the test using devices being used by police.
Railways blamed the loco pilots for disrupting services and said the breath alcohol analyser system was introduced as Railways was not ready to take any chances concerning efficient services and safety of its passengers.
A railway official said at least four local trains, including Ernakulam-Kottayam, Kottayam-Ernakulam, Ernakulam-Palakkad and Ernakulam -Kollam via Kottayam (Memu) have been cancelled due to the loco pilots’ strike.
Meanwhile, passengers affected by the strike staged a protest outside Railway Station Master’s office.