Press Statement Issued by AIRF on Protest March to Parliament on 28.03.2012.
New Delhi, 28th March:
More than 20,000 Railwaymen marched on the Parliament Street under the banner of All India Railwaymen’s Federation chanting slogan – “Save Railways – Save Country”.
The Railwaymen had assembled here to press upon the Union Government of India for fulfilling their long pending genuine demands, such as filling-up of 2.5 lakh vacancies, out of which 1.5 lakh are belonging to “Safety Categories” and vital frontline operating and maintenance staff like Asstt. Loco Pilot, Asstt. Station Master, Pointsman, Trackman, Technician, Signalling Staff, Ticket Collector, Enquiry-Cum-Reservation Clerk, Sr. Section Engineer, etc. etc. The Railwaymen are also agitated for non-fulfilling of their demand of removal of anomalies of the Sixth Central Pay Commission as well as rectification in the Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme(MACPS).
Due to shortage of staff and increased workload, Railwaymen are forced to work for longer duty hours and because of increase in their stress level, large number of them are being hospitalized and medically decategorised and many of them are loosing their lives while on duty. Though the Railwaymen are getting lot of admiration on the floor of the Parliament as well as outside, but they are not getting fairdeal for resolving their
The march was culminated into a huge mass meeting at the Parliament Street. The meeting was presided over by Shri Umraomal Purohit, President AIRF, who narrated about the bad financial condition of the Indian Railways, forcing the Railway Board to defer payment of Travelling Allowance, Night Duty Allowance, Overtime Allowance, etc. etc. He was also critical for non-implementation of the agreements, made by the Railway Board, due to financial stringency or non-cooperation from the Government of India.
Shri Purohit, while appreciating the efforts made by the AIRF affiliates for such a huge gathering, appealed to the Railwaymen to be united and be ready to face future challenges. He stated that, there had many attempts to pritatise the Indian Railways, but it is all because of our endeavour and persistence pressure on the Government of India that we could have safe the Railways. He further mentioned that there is an urgent need of financial support to the Indian Railways.
While addressing the mass rally, General Secretary, All India Railwaymen’s Federation, Shri Shiva Gopal Mishra, welcomed all those who arrived in Delhi to express their solidarity with the All India Railwaymen’s Federation.
While applauding the efforts of the Zonal, Divisional, and even Branch level leadership for bringing more than 20,000 Railwaymen before the Parliament. This has proved that they are ready to go to any extent if their demands are remained unresolved.
Shri Mishra mentioned that the Government of India is giving financial support from its General Exchequer to MNREGS – Rs.90,000 crore, Food Security Bill – Rs.50,000 crore, Subsidy on petroleum products – Rs.2,00,000 crore, Make-up losses for P&T Deptt. – Rs.7,000 crore, Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission – Rs.70,000 crore, National Highways Authority of India – Rs.24,000 crore, etc. etc. Rs.24,000 crore and many others, but to the Indian Railways only Rs.24,000 crore, which is maintaining 68,000 route kms, 6,000 railway stations, running more than 19,000 trains per day, catering passenger service to 2 crore people of this country per day. On the other hand, Indian Railways are expected to pay interest(dividend) on Gross Budgetary Support(GBS) at the rate of 5-7%. The Indian Railways also borrow money from the open market through the Bonds at the rate higher than 10%.
No other infrastructural project in this country is expected to either pay dividend or borrow at the market rate. On the other hand, Indian Railways, which is most important infrastructure of this country, is forced to beg from the GBS.
There is every likelihood that our freight earnings may be hit by the competition from the road. It has become very essential to save the Indian Railways and the Government of India should come forward to financially support the Indian Railways in a big way from its Gross Budgetary Support(GBS).
Shri Mishra further stated that the Government of India always given prescription for the privatization of the Indian Railways. The only solution of the problems of the Indian Railways has always been Committees. The Committees have made a century without any workable solution.
Railwaymen want that their long pending genuine demands should be fulfilled, rail users want satisfaction, but the government wants to sell out the Indian Railways. But we are sure, till our cadre is alive; nobody can dare to sell out the Indian Railways. We will fight tooth and nail to save the Indian Railways as also to fulfill the long pending genuine demands of the Railwaymen – Removal of anomalies of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, relaxation in duty hours, scrapping of New Pension Scheme, implementation of various Welfare Schemes announced by the earlier Minister for Railways, stopping of outsourcing and privatization, recruitment against more than 2.5 lakh vacancies, recruitment of the wards of the Railway employees, implementation of Cadre Restructuring, etc. etc.
The meeting was addressed by Shri Rakhal Das Gupta, Working President AIRF, Shri N.Kanniah, AGS/AIRF, Shri C.A. Rajasridhar, VP/AIRF, Shri Ch. Shankara Rao, AGS/AIRF, Shri Ch. Gandhi, AGS/AIRF, Shri M.N. Bajpayee, VP/AIRF, Shri U.C. Tyagi, VP/AIRF, Shri P.R. Menon, VP/AIRF, Shri S.K. Brahma, VP/AIRF, Shri Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, AGS/AIRF, Shri K.L. Gupta, AVS/AIRF, Shri Mukesh Galav, AGS/AIRF, Shri V.P.R. Pillai, VP/AIRF, Shri Salil Lawrence, AGS/AIRF, Shri A.M. D’Cruz, AGS/AIRF, Shri R.D. Yadav, VP/AIRF, Shri J.R. Bhosale, Treasurer/AIRF and others.
At the end, a memorandum, containing long pending genuine demands of the Railwaymen, was submitted to Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.