EXISTENCE OF THE INDIAN RAILWAYS IN DANGER
It looks nice to see that, a lot is being talked about to make the Indian Railways “World Class”. We also support this, but the integrity of the Ministry of Railways in this regard is doubtful because they are planning to do this, not by the Railway employees, but through the wholesale privatization.
Hon’ble Railway Minister has, a number of times, claimed that, there would not be any privatization of the Indian Railways, nevertheless, privatization is being given backdoor entry from other ways. Not only cleaning of the stations, but also of Railway Colonies and collection of garbage have been given to the private contractors. Recruitment against the vacant posts of Safaiwala is virtually banned. The Organized Labour protested, but did not get fruitful outcome. During the last 10 years front and rear SLRs of almost all the important Mail and Express Trains have been leased to the contractors and the protest lodged by the workers was not given due cognizance.
We welcome the new technology, but this is adversely affecting the strength of the Railwaymen. As on date; around 60% Reserved Tickets are booked online. Unreserved – General and Local Tickets are also being issued by using UTS machines installed on the stations. Tickets are also booked on the mobile phone.
The matter does not end here, but the Ministry of Railways is planning to hand over the entire OHE to the private entrepreneurs. Its process was also started, but AIRF has strongly protested this move, and we told that, self-reliance of the Indian Railways would seize if OHE handed over to the private entrepreneurs. The factual position is that, the Ministry of Railways is gradually implementing the recommendations of Dr. Bibek Debroy Committee, in which it has been recommended that, the Railway Board should be reorganized, and by abolition a number of departments, there should be only two streams – one Indian Railway Engineering Services and the other Indian Railway Management Services. As a consequence of this, the work of preparation of combined seniority above the rank of HoD has been started. In fact, the Indian Railways is progressing on this path. By this time, manufacturing of locomotives and passenger coaches is being done in the Railway Production Units, but it is quite unfortunate that, two new Production Units – one at Madhepura and the other at Marhowra – have been established, purely on 100% FDI basis, by the foreign companies. You might be knowing that, these foreign companies have already manufactured a jumbo locomotive of 12,000 Horse Power, which is having capacity of hauling 150 wagons and this locomotive has been sent to Moradabad Division of Northern Railway for trial and shall be utilized on Dedicated Freight Corridors, which is likely to come up very soon.
The above activities and policies of the Ministry of Railways clearly indicate that, quick action is being taken to change the present structure of the Indian Railways. Therefore, if we remain engaged in struggle for small issues, it will prove to be difficult to face these challenges. The interest of the Railwaymen can only be protected if Indian Railways are saved and when Indian Railways shall not be in the present form, then where the Railway workers shall be, can be easily understood.
E-magazine AIRF JULYAUGUST 2018 has been uploaded below:-