Laxman Singh, a 48-year-old, is a motorman with the Central Railway, and for him, ferrying passengers without delay takes precedence over everything else.
On 16 February, a few miscreants threw chilli powder into his eyes just after the CST-Titwala train he was piloting left the Kalwa station at 3.35 pm. However Singh powered through and drove on for 18 km in extreme physical pain, reports Mumbai Mirror.
He did not even apply the emergency brakes or leave the steering handle to stop the train since it was hurtling towards its next stop (Mumbra) at a speed of 95 kmph.
On reaching Mumbra, Singh was informed that a replacement was unavailable, so he carried on. During the remainder of the journey, he stopped at five stations and had the option to get someone to replace him, but decided to carry on as waiting for a replacement would have resulted in a delay of 30 minutes or more for the passengers.
His only focus was to ferry passengers on time, while in other parts of the city protesters had stopped trains demonstrating against the recent Pulwama terror attack.
The railway authorities finally found a replacement for him at the Kalyan station and rushed him to the hospital.
“I reached Kalyan at 4.12 pm and was rushed to the railway hospital where doctors confirmed [that] chilli powder had entered my eyes. The powder was thrown inside the motorman’s cabin between Kalwa and Mumbra and for a few seconds, I couldn’t open my eyes. But my training ensured that I was back at the controls,” said Singh to the Mumbai-based publication.
During the stretch from Mumbra to Kalyan, senior officials of the Central Railway supervised Singh, considering the perilous state of his eyes.
In fact, one doctor told the publication that Singh was fortunate to have escaped without any serious damage to his eyes and that he would only resume duty after he is fully fit.
Acknowledging Singh’s commitment to work, Sanjay Jain, the Central Railway DRM (Divisional Railway Manager) awarded him a cash prize of Rs 1000, and an appreciation certificate.
Thousands who had boarded that train may have no clue about Laxman Singh, but thanks to the motorman, they reached their destinations safe and sound, and on time.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)