Railways' decision to operate the shed round-the-clock opposed

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The `shift' row

The goods

shed functions between 6 am and 10 pm every day; can handle up to five rakes a day.

Because round-the-clock

operations will mean, the workers associations have to organise themselves better and to pay the workers more for the night shifts.

KolkataMay 21The unloading of wagons at Howrah's Shalimar goods shed, one of the country's largest goods sheds under South-Eastern Railway (SER), has remained suspended for the past few days due to cease-work by a section of workers and transport operators opposed to the Railway's decision to operate the goods shed round-the-clock.


As a result, three rakes two rakes loaded with cement and one rake with iron and steel remain stranded. SER has to control the arrivals of rakes in view of the present situation. The Shalimar goods shed, functioning between 6 am and 10 pm every day, can handle up to five rakes a day, depending on the cargo inducement.

"We've introduced the round-the-clock operation at various other goods sheds and stations under our jurisdiction but finding it difficult to implement the same in the biggest of them all", Mr V.K. Raina, General Manager of SER, told

Business Line


In tune with policy

The round-the-clock operation at Shalimar, as he explained, would help SER achieve higher cargo throughput as there would be faster turnaround of wagons and fewer detentions. "We have adopted the policy to maximise our output and the proposed round-the-clock operation is in tune with the policy", he said.

Longer working hours would mean more job opportunities for workers and higher earnings for them; also, larger volume of traffic would bring higher business for the transport operators.

More pay

However, the associations controlling the workers and transport operators are not convinced. This is presumably because round-the-clock operations will mean they have to organise themselves better and to pay the workers more for the night shifts. Also, there are certain restrictions on the movement of heavy-duty vehicles in the city during certain hours, it is pointed out.

Sugar traffic

SER sources point out that a similar attitude in the past drove the sugar traffic out of the Shalimar goods shed. If Container Corporation of India's terminal next door could be operated round-the-clock, there is no reason why the goods shed too cannot be run 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the railway authorities and the unions have sat together in their bid to explore ways and means as to how to end the present impasse. "I'm hopeful of arriving at a settlement shortly", Mr Raina observed.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 22, 2007)
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