Railway departments lock horns over Vathuruthy level crossing

A tussle is going on between two railway departments regarding the operation of the level crossing (LC) at Vathuruthy (Kochi). Even as the people and the Railways want to do away with it, the Indian Navy has been raising objections. According to a source from the traffic department of the Railways, the operation of the LC had been handed over to the engineering department. “That was a year ago. However, they are yet to take charge,” said the officer.

A letter regarding the matter was also sent to the department, he added. “However, there has been no communication from the engineering department till date regarding this. Moreover, we are short of staff. Manning the LC, which remains open for most of the day, requires deputing an extra staff. We cannot afford to do that,” said the officer.

Every time a goods train comes in, we have to rush a person to operate the LC, he said.The department has been sending reminders and letters regarding this matter to the engineering wing. “But, there has been no response. It is difficult to understand why they aren’t taking over the LC operation when many trackmen are working  as an office staff at the department,” he alleged. He alleged these trackmen have been deputed to the clerical post and this is hindering the promotion chances of many suitable candidates.

 The officer alleged that the trackmen have been appointed to the clerical post illegally. “The appointments have happened even though an order issued by the divisional railway manager strictly prohibits it,” alleged the officer. According to him, only LCs near stations that have been upgraded come under the ambit of the traffic

department.“While Cochin Harbour Terminus had an upgraded status, the LC was our responsibility. But once it was downgraded, the LC fell under the jurisdiction of the engineering department,” said the officer.
Meanwhile, the senior divisional engineer refuted all the allegations. “The matter is an internal issue and will be sorted out soon,” he said