Report from AISMA, Tiruchirappalli Division
All India Station Master Association (AISMA) members carried out a dharna in front of the DRM office, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu on 22 October 2021. Nearly 80 station masters of the Tiruchirappalli Railway Division from Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Nagapattinam, Virudhachalam, Tiruchirappalli, Tiruvarur and other places participated in large numbers. In the past also the station masters had raised their voice for their demands.
The main demand was about filling vacancies which have reached an alarming level. “We have 93 vacancies out of 538 sanctioned strengths. So, almost 20% of the total”, said the leader of AISMA. Station master is a big link for safe train running in railways. Increased workload due to so many vacancies endangers of safety of passengers.
Another grievance was about the denial of leave even for genuine cause. It has become order of the day that leave of 10 days or more will be sanctioned once in 6 months only for an individual. It may become once in a year in near future.
The authorities have also put restrictions to avail 10 days casual leave (CL) at a stretch but nowhere it is mentioned in leave rules. An employee is eligible for 10 days CL in a calendar year.
The cadre are facing heavy punishment for absent/overstay on leave. When for reasons like sister’s or brother’s marriage, parent’s health care, etc., leave is turned down & denied, employees have no other option than being absent. But, for that giving harsh punishment like reduction in pay, etc. for years together was not heard of in the past.
Speakers demanded restoration of leave sanctioning power to zonal SMRs. Not more than 3 days leave can be sanctioned by zonal SMR at present. Leave sanctioning power to in-charge SS is hard fought won right of our cadre, they pointed out. But why is it taken back now?
Many AISMA leaders addressed the meeting. Among of them were Com. John Robert Woodridge SS/TJ, Com. K.Marimuthu SS/GOC, Com. P. Balasubramaniam SS/SRGM, Com. Mohandurai SS/VM, etc. Com. John Robert Woodridge reminded comrades that rabbits get hunted, roaring lions only will get their share. He asked them to fight and to get back the pride & privileges of SMs. DSF/TPJ gave thanks to all who attended without taking rest and showed our unity and strength.
After completion of the demonstration, ex- central secretary finance Com. K.Marimuthu, Divisional President Trikotti and Divisional Secretary Com. Sugandhan Pradeep handed over 2 page memorandum to Sr.DOM Shri HariKumar and DRM Shri Manish Agrawal.