What if attending the call of nature was not in your hands? Not cool, isn’t it? Now think about the engine drivers, who for over the last 163 years have been forbidden from answering nature’s call or taking refreshments on Indian Railways (during their 12 hour journey). Hard to believe, but this is how the journey has been for over 60,000 engine drivers for all these years. And whenever they have demanded for a toilet in the engine, they have been let down by the Indian Railways stating it’s impossible to halt a running train for either urinating or taking refreshments.
Now that the Railways has decided to put toilet in train engines after 163 years, it’s going to be some relief for the drivers. The Indian Railways will introduce the first locomotive fitted with a bio-toilet on Friday and it would be flagged off by Suresh Parbhu, Railway Minister.
As per railway officials, the bio-toilets come with many features and sensors. Only when the speed of the train reaches zero, the doors of the toilets would open; the locomotive pilots won’t be able to answer nature’s call while the train is moving. And whenever the pilot would go inside the toilet, the brakes of the engine won’t be released by any system.
Many of us know that in India, there are different rules and regulations for different transportation systems. For example, bus drivers can take a break after driving for five hours and Delhi Metro drivers can take a 40-min break after every three hours. And auto drivers can take a break whenever they want. Moreover, Airline pilots are given breaks depending on the length of the journey.
As told by an anonymous IRLRO member (Indian Railway Loco Running Men’s Organisation), the organisation that represents locomotive pilots, “We have moved the National Human Rights Commission too because the condition for drivers like us are very inhumane. Most of the time we are under so much stress that it could contribute to train accidents too”. The initiative definitely is positive but comes with strings attached.