The plans to have mobile jammers and a sophisticated cell monitoring system to ensure motormen and long-distance train drivers don’t use their phones while navigating trains may soon get a boost. With train runners not taking kindly to the ministry’s plans to monitor their phones and planning protests, the chances of the ministry expediting the work of installing jammers inside driving cabins is high, said officials.
The recommendation to have such jammers was made by the four-member investigating committee that probed the Churchgate station incident of June 28 where a local train sped into platform number 3 and then rammed into the buffer before climbing onto the concourse. While the probe found that the motorman of the ill-fated train was not talking on the mobile phone, the committee went ahead and recommended these measures to ensure that mobile phones didn’t turn into a ‘dangerous and costly distraction’ — as one official put it — for train drivers.
Officials now say the move will get a boost because the ministry’s strictness over cellphones and plans to monitor phones has infuriated the driver category, who believe it is an invasion of their privacy. Several unions plan to protest against this strictness by organising dharnas on December 14 and 15. Several motormen dna spoke to said that instead of treating them this way, it was best that the authorities sped up the process of installing jammers.
“It is insulting when our mobiles are checked to find out if we were speaking on the phone while driving. We know the responsibility that comes with our work and we will not do something as dangerous as talking on the phone while running a train. It is better that we have jammers so that no motorman or train driver is viewed with this kind of suspicion,” said a motorman.
Currently, motormen are supposed to switch of their official mobiles, part of the railways’ closed-user group, and also submit their private numbers so that it can be electronically monitored by the authorities in case there is something amiss.