Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) Correspondent
On 31st July 2023, a large number of railway workers working in different departments organized a demonstration in front of the Central Railway Office in CST, Mumbai. They were angrily denouncing arbitrary cancellation of the examination for Group D workers. Their delegation was led by Comrade R.N. Paswan, General Secretary of Central Railway Track Maintainer Union.
In 2019, the Railway Recruitment Cell (RRC) of Central Railway released a notification for recruitment to the posts of Junior Clerk, Senior Clerk, etc. by conducting the General Departmental Competitive Examination (GDCE). Thousands of central railway workers from Group D category, grade pay 1800 and 1900, completed the process of applying for the examination. All of them started studying in preparation for the examination. Many of them gave up promotion to a higher pay grade as they would be disqualified if they moved to a higher pay grade. Central Railway RRC continued to postpone the examination giving one or another excuse. Suddenly, on 27th July 2023, the Chairman of the Central Railway RRC declared that the examination will not be held and also cancelled the 2019 notification! Railway workers who have been preparing and eagerly awaiting the examination were shocked and angry and organized this demonstration in protest.
When the delegation of workers confronted the General Manager, they were told that in the 4 years since 2019, most of the posts for which the examination was scheduled had been surrendered! Many who gave up promotion to a higher pay grade during the last 4 years have had to bear a big financial loss for no fault of theirs. Several workers who were within the prescribed age limit when the notification was issued in 2019 will face an age restriction whenever a new notification is issued in the future. All railway workers are extremely angry with this injustice.
Many existing railway workers across India who have appeared for various inter-departmental qualifying examinations for transfer to other departments have been demanding that the railway administration should declare the results of these examinations. Similarly, lakhs of aspirants who have attempted the entrance examinations conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board have been demanding the declaration of results. Many who have already cleared various examinations have been asking for appointment letters. But the Railway Ministry has been prolonging the recruitment process for one or another excuse although the Railway Minister himself has admitted that there are more than 2.8 lakh vacancies in Indian railways. In contrast, notifications to recruit contract workers are being released regularly.
This state of affairs clearly shows that the Indian Railways wants to contractualise as many jobs as possible. All the federations, unions and associations active in Indian Railways need to forge a solid uncompromising unity to defeat this drive of Indian Railways.