CR to inquire into on-duty guard’s ‘drunken joyride’

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 13 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A day after a train guard was caught attending the duty in a drunk state, thus jeopardizing commuters' safety, the Central Railway on Monday ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Authorities realized that guard Namdeo Sutake, who was on a CST-Titwala train, was drunk. Just as the train was pulling out of Dombivli station around 8.45 pm on Sunday, Sutake accidentally hit the emergency brake, causing the train to halt. As the guard failed to respond to signals from the motorman's cabin, officials at the station rushed to inspect the guard's cabin where it was found that the guard was drunk. The incident has raised a question mark over safety standards practised by the Central Railway.

Pointing out to rules, a guard said, "A breath-analyser test has to be conducted on guards before they get on a train. But this procedure is rarely followed."

Another railway official pointed out that non-implementation of this rule has "emboldened them enough" to report on duty in an inebriated state.

A Central Railway official said that suitable action will be initiated against Sutake on the basis of the report of a medical test.

A source in the railways said that the most severe form of punishment could be removal from service. "In a similar case reported a few years ago, the guard was demoted and assigned duty in the yard," said this source, adding that Sutake has two years of service before he retires. "The administration could give him compulsory retirement," said the source who asked not to be named.

Railway activist Subhash Gupta said that breath-analyser tests must also be done randomly on motormen and guards en route. "What if they start a drinking session on the way after clearing the test before starting duty?"

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