Are railway workers responsible for this accident and other accidents or the present political and higher officials, who decide policies in Railway Board are responsible?
Message of Dr Ch Sankara Rao, General Secretary, South Central Railway Mazdoor Union (SCRMU) & Treasurer All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF)
In Indian Railway 3 lakh non-gazetted posts are vacant in all Zones – statement of Hon’ble Railway Minister Sri Ashwini Vaishnava, in response to a question in the Rajya Sabha in January 2023.
Vacancies in gazetted and non-gazetted posts consist of engineers of all departments, technicians, track maintainers, important posts like loco pilots, train managers, station managers, pointsmen, etc. Half of the vacancies are in safety departments.
1,03,769 vacancies in Level-1 including trackmen, pointsmen, electrical, signal and telecom assistants. These posts are crucial for the smooth running of Trains.
From 2014 there is ban on creation of posts even though triple lines constructed, new trains introduced, 100% electrification of all lines done.
Freight loading improved and number of goods train increased but no new staff increase but strangely Railway Board issued orders for reduction of 2% staff every year. GMs supervised reduction of staff against concern expressed by Safety Officers, AIRF and staff.
Now no separate Budget for Rlys, no discussion on Railways requirements in financial budget by MPs.
Accidents are happening due to pressure and threats to employees. Employees are forced to use short cut methods to maintain punctuality of trains. Speed increased without sufficient track maintainers to do maintenance work.
No blocks given with sufficient time to maintain; staff asked to complete work in the name of maintaining punctuality.
In the name of rationalisation of crew review, half yearly review of loco pilots withdrawn and yearly review started. Changing of formula to get 10,000 Loco piolet posts declared surplus.
Railway Board only wants reduction of staff. All jobs gradually getting privatized at the cost of quality of job.
It would have been better if this government had paid equal attention to the creation of safety category posts by stopping privatisation policies in Railways.
Reduce the work pressure on the existing employees, especially on loco pilots, track maintainers and other technical workers who are forced to work 12 or 16 hours a day.
Treat them as human beings. Please do not treat them as machines and stop harassing staff with day- to-day orders. Fill all the vacancies.
Restore 2% of posts that are surrendered in this year.
Protect people’s lives.
Safety and welfare of people and workers are more important than privatisation, monetisation for the success of Indian Railway.
Even now think to change your economic policy and do justice to people and workers.
Dr Ch Sankara Rao
GS SCRMU & Treasurer AIRF