We cannot accept cessation of recruitment in railways that will endanger passenger safety!

Submitted by vivek on Wed, 01/01/2014 - 20:30

Kamgar Ekta Committee, Mumbai Suburban Railway Passenger Mahasangh, Airport Authority of India Employees Union, Air India Service Engineers Association, All India Loco Running Staff Association, All India Guards Council, All India Station Masters Association, All India Voltas Employees Federation, BEST Workers Union, Bombay University College Teachers Union, Ladaku Garment Mazdoor Sangh, Lok Raj Sangathan, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, Mumbai Municipal Mazdoor Union, National Federation of Postal Employees, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, Western Railway Motormens Association, jointly brought out a leaflet opposing cessation of recruitment by Indian railways.

Tens of thousands of these leaflets were distributed in various areas of Mumbai. Mazdoor Ekta Lahar is publishing the leaflet here.

Brothers & sisters,

In last two months there have been many instances of railway accidents near Mumbai. These incidents have once again highlighted safety and lack of facilities of railway passengers & railway employees. In last two months several gangmen were killed under a running train while they were carrying out repair and maintenance of railway tracks. As per the rules of Indian Railways, a certain number of gangmen are supposed to be in a gang carrying out the repair or maintenance work. But in reality this is never adhered to. This fact was brought to light by the railway employees unions. For example in an accident which occurred near Kalyan railway station, as against 6 gangmen as per the rules, in reality there were only 4 gangmen in a gang. Unions have highlighted two reasons why this happens. Firstly, railway administration is not filling in the vacancies of gangmen by appointing permanent employees. Secondly, railway administration is increasingly giving the work of maintenance of railway tracks to private contractors. These contractors employ lesser number of people in each gang and that too untrained workmen at lowest possible wages. This not only endangers the safety of those gangmen, but also endangers safety of railway passengers. If gangmen always feel the sword of an accident hanging over their heads then will they be able to perform their duty properly ? No human being can !

In many of their agitations railway motormen have highlighted the fact that they are always over burdened with duty since railway administration is not recruiting new motormen even on vacancies. As it is the job of motormen is of high stress & strain. If they are over burdened then they will obviously not be able to carry out their duty properly. This means that safety of passengers will be endangered !

This is true about other employees of railways like railway guards, employees connected with signaling systems, station masters etc. Vacancies are very rarely filled by permanent recruitment. Either work load on existing employees is increased or some other employees are utilized for that work. Result is obvious : " safety of those employees & also of passengers is compromised !"

Indian railways ferries more than 2 crore passengers and more than 25 lakh tons of goods every day. Total railway track is more than 65000 kms. To operate and manage this massive infrastructure properly in the interests of Indian people, many other employees of railways working in railway workshops, railway offices, railway hospitals, ticket checkers, booking clerks, etc. also play a crucial role every day. For example if booking clerks are inadequate it leads to massive queues in front of ticket windows. This is the experience of people of Mumbai at all stations. If station masters are inadequate, the every thing on stations goes haywire. In Central railway alone there is shortage of 1000 booking clerks & 131 station masters ! All over India, there are more than 17000 vacancies of engine drivers, 4000 of guards, 4700 of station masters, and tens of thousands of gangmen ! These vacancies is the main reason for railway accidents. We can not accept such callous attitude of railway administration under any pretext !

It is important for all the citizens to note that in 1991 the railway employees numbered more than 17 lakhs which dropped down to around 13 lakhs in 2011, whereas during last 20 years a large number of new trains have been added and speed of all trains have substantially increased. According to the "Vision 2020" document of Railway Ministry, by 2020 around 25000 kms of new railway lines will be added, whereas it plans to reduce the number of employees at the rate of 4% every year ! This reduction will be achieved by increasing the work load on existing employees and by entrusting more work to private contractors. You can imagine how much will the safety of those employees and railway passengers be compromised ! In his budget speech Railway Minister himself admitted that more than 1 lakh 52 thousand vacancies are there in Indian railways at present ! Railway employees organizations have always raised demand of filling the vacancies. Unless all of us, the citizens of India, oppose these anti people policies of the Central government, it will continue on this anti people path. It is high time that the commuters raise this demand . We must declare that this method of increasing profits by reducing employees, a move that endangers the safety of passengers and employees is not acceptable to us. All our organizations demand that railway administration immediately fills up all the vacancies in Indian railways by appointing permanent employees !

Tag:    Defeat Privatisation    safety    Passenger    railways    Kamgar Ekta Chalwal    All India Loco Running Staff Association    Jan 1-15 2014    Struggle for Rights    Popular Movements    

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