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‘Safeguard railway men from COVID-19’

Demand for providing additional safety measures for railway employees so as to ensure their safety during the pandemic has increased after the death of a railway gatekeeper on Wednesday.

Dakshin Railway Employees’ Union said that had the railway administration taken adequate precaution the life of gatekeeper, Muthukaruppan (32), could have been saved.

A father of two children, he was deployed at a railway level crossing near Tiruppuvanam railway station.

“We demand that the administration takes safety measures on a war-footing,” said DREU divisional secretary, R. Sankaranarayanan.

He charged that the administration that had provided masks, gloves, face shields and sanitisers to the railway staff during the first wave of COVID-19, had failed to take similar measures during the second wave that was claiming more lives.

He said that railway men were working round-the-clock, even putting their lives at risk, during the pandemic to transport foodgrains, medical equipment, oxygen tankers and fertilizers to prevent shortage of the essential commodities.

Besides pilots, guards and traffic employees, engineering workers involved in maintenance of railway track were also working in large numbers.

“We demand that all these working railwaymen are vaccinated irrespective of their age on a priority basis so as to safeguard them,” Mr. Sankaranarayanan said.

Similarly, they should be provided N95 masks.

“The most important demand is that the officials should not allow workers to work in large groups so as to prevent spread of the infection,” he added.

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