Considering the increasing traffic with the induction of more trains in the rail network, Indian Railways has started the process for recruiting over 5,000 assistant loco pilots.
The Railways has issued a Centralised Employment Notice for filling up of assistant loco pilots (ALPs) vacancies of total 5,696, to cater to the needs of deployment of loco drivers for mail/express, passenger, and goods trains.
However, as recruitment is a continuous process, All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) demands for recruitment and filling up of vacancies of ALP every year on annual basis in view of safety.
In a letter to the chairman of Railway Board, AILRSA has said that there are a total vacancies of 16,373 posts for loco pilots and ALPs and demanded that the recruitment should be done for more numbers and not just 5,696.
The loco pilots association has maintained that there is a constant demand to reduce overtime and longer working hours for loco drivers, as demand for weekly and periodical rest are still pending with the authorities.
"Mere 5,696 number is no way to meet the basic requirements of divisions to run the train service and smooth industrial relations. Last recruitment was initiated in March 2018 for 27,795 vacancies," the letter said.
It further said, "Recruited ALPs joined in duty from September 2018 onwards only. At present the estimated sanctioned total strength of loco pilots all over India is 128,793 with 16,373 vacancies, while only 5,696 vacancies were notified."
AILRSA demands to review the decision to ascertain the exact requirements from zones and as a permanent solution, it demands for recruitment and filling up of vacancies of ALPs every year on an annual basis, in view of safety.
However, the Railways maintains that it does regular recruitments instead of notifying recruitment in one category every 4-5 years.
The Railways said that as on 1 November 2023, the total sanctioned strength of ALP stood at 57,256, while the roll strength is 54,066 with vacancies of 3,190.
Defending the decision, the Railways explained that the small number is easily manageable and helps in faster recruitment process. It also provides more opportunities to candidates if someone could not qualify in one attempt, the Railways added.
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