Drunk station master leaves passengers stranded, and this is not the first time it’s happened for Indian Railways
- Several trains came to a halt at the Murshadpur train station in
Uttar Pradeshon Friday because the station master was lying unconscious in a drunken stupor.
- According to a disturbing report in the Hindustan Times in April 2017, 15% of the
Indian Railwaystrain drivers failed the alcohol test at the end of their journey
- In all, 281 train drivers have failed the alcohol tests between 2012 and 2016.
Trains delays are so commonplace in India that most remain unphased when they hear about one. And while there are reasons aplenty - most avoidable and some unavoidable - the story about last Friday’s delay was quite something else. A number of trains came to a halt at the Murshadpur train station in Uttar Pradesh because the station master was lying unconscious in a drunken stupor.
Around 80 km from Delhi, the Murshadpur station lies on an arterial long-distance train route. It is the station master’s responsibility to give the green signal for the trains to proceed. Needless to say, because of his absence these trains had no choice but to stop and wait for the signal.
Unable to reach the missing station master Deep Singh, harried railway officials headed to the station along with a replacement station master only to find him passed out in his office surrounded with empty bottles of alcohol. A senior railway official told the Deccan Herald that “Singh was dead drunk and could barely walk”.
Sources also told the paper that Singh was later taken to a local hospital where a medical examination revealed a very high level of alcohol in his blood.
Railway officials have now suspended Deep Singh and have ordered an investigation.
Now, while most may think that surely this bizarre incident is unprecedented, it is in fact one of many. In April 2016, the Times of India reported a similar incident where the stationmaster at Rajasthan’s Munabao station near the India-Pakistan border was found passed out in his room. In this case, Rajuram Choudhary, the station master, was a repeat offender and had been put on notice thrice earlier for the same reason.
And if that were not enough, according to a disturbing report in the Hindustan Times in April 2017, 15% of the Indian Railways train drivers, also known as loco-pilots, failed the alcohol test at the end of their journey. Which basically means they were ferrying hundreds of passengers in an inebriated state. In all, 281 train drivers have failed the alcohol tests between 2012 and 2016.