Private sector is eyeing valuable railway land: Shiva Gopal Mishra
Report of All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF) report
In the most important delegate session on the last day of the 98th National Convention of All India Railwaymen’s Federation, General Secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra said that the private sector is eyeing only the precious land of the Indian Railways, they care neither about the railways nor about the railway passengers and workers. But none of their intentions are going to be fulfilled as long as AIRF exists. The General Secretary has made it clear that we will save the railways and also restore old pension. President Dr. N. Kanhaiya said that today the government is denying in the parliament that the privatization of railways is being done, but in the name of monetization, a conspiracy is being hatched to sell the railways.
In the delegate session, General Secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra discussed almost all issues in detail and updated everyone about the issues on which talks are ongoing with the government. The General Secretary said that the truth is that today the Indian Railways is in the most difficult phase ever. The government wants to promote privatization, whereas the truth is that the private sector is only eyeing the precious land of the Indian Railways so that they can fill their coffers by opening big malls and shopping centres. The General Secretary made it clear that monetization is not a permanent solution to the problem at all.
He asked why the private sector is showing interest in running the luxury train on 175 routes. If they want to run the train, then they should lay their own tracks, build engines and coaches, build more stations, appoint staff and set up the rest of the infrastructure. Run the trains, we have no objection, but we will not allow them to grab all revenue while using Indian Railways infrastructure.
The General Secretary said that today our production units are also in danger, a conspiracy is being made to shut them down although our production units are doing a better job and producing engines and coaches at a much lower cost that the cost of production abroad. We cannot allow the government to take arbitrary actions in the name of new technology. In these circumstances, the intention of the government is not going to be fulfilled.
As far as saving old pension and Indian Railways is concerned, it is among our topmost priorities. Because the fight is a long one, the Standing Committee of AIRF had decided to form Save Rail, Save Nation Campaign Committee at every station, so that through these committees, common man can also be associated with this campaign.
You all know that the fight is big. For the restoration of old pension, all people, including state employees and teachers, are struggling at their own level. It is our effort to take everyone along and plan Bharat Bandh. If Bharat Bandh happens, then Indian Railways will also be shut. On all these points, our preparations have progressed a lot, we want to complete our preparations before announcing the strike. Soon the outline of the andolan will be finalized in the Standing Committee of AIRF.
As far as the secret ballot for the recognition of the union is concerned, the government is taking a back seat because it knows that the union affiliated to their party has no standing in the railways, it is not possible for them to get elected in any zone. This is the reason why some such provisions are being made so that they too can get some space. For example, only the one who gets 51 percent of the total votes will be recognized. It is funny that after getting 30 to 32 percent votes, the government is formed in the country and after getting 26 to 28 percent votes, people become ministers along with MPs and MLAs, but for the recognition of the union, 51 percent votes have been made mandatory. In such a situation, we have to put our full strength in taking the union forward.
The General Secretary said that in 2024, the centenary year of the establishment of AIRF is going to be completed. We are preparing to celebrate this centenary year in a big way, there are plans to organize various events across the country. Apart from this, it is our endeavour to issue a postage stamp on this occasion. This is also in the final stage, soon all of you will get information about it.
President Dr. N. Kanhaiya raised questions on the intention of the government and said that today the government is losing its trust, it says one thing, but does something else. When the question arises in the parliament, the government says that the Indian Railways will not be privatised, but in the name of monetisation, a conspiracy is being hatched to divide the railways into pieces through another route. All this is not going to work, we are keeping an eye on all the activities of the government, they will be given a befitting reply in time.
Several draft proposals were presented in the delegate session, which were passed unanimously. These mainly included that NPS should be abolished and old pension should be restored, dearness allowance should be paid soon for a period of about 18 months, national monetization policy should be stopped immediately in Indian Railways, union recognition elections should be conducted soon, recruitment to vacant posts in railways should be undertaken soon, basic facilities should be made available immediately at workplaces for women working in Indian Railways, and the condition of railway colonies should be improved.
Executive President JR Bhosle, Treasurer Shankarrao, Zone General Secretary KL Gupta also addressed the delegate session. In addition, SK Tyagi, Ashish Vishwas, Mukesh Galav, Gautam Mukherjee, A D’Cruz, SNP Srivastava, Mukesh Mathur, Dinesh Panchal, Jaya Agarwal, Praveena Singh, Champa Verma, RD Yadav, LN Pathak, RK Pandey, and Anoop Sharma addressed the session. East Coast Railway Workers Union General Secretary PK Patsahani, President M S S V Rao, Zonal Secretary Damodar Agarwal congratulated AIRF General Secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra and President Dr. N. Kanhaiya on the grand national convention and said that although their union may be small, the leadership here has a big heart and took very good care of everyone. The General Secretary honoured all the comrades who played an important role in this event.