Bhubaneswar: All India Railway Engineers Federation (AIREF) on Sunday alleged that Railway Board has done injustice towards around 80,000 junior engineers and senior section engineers working in Indian Railways by not promoting them from grade C to grade B.
The AIREF leaders told this at the annual general body meeting of the East Coast Railway Engineers Association (ECoREA) organized here. They said several safety committees- Wanchoo, Sikiri, Khanna and Bibek Debroy- have strongly suggested improvement of social status, pay structures and promotional avenues of the railway engineers in order to provide quality services to rail users.
“But the Railway Board is deliberately ignoring the recommendations of the committees. Even now seventh pay commission has not included them for pay revision,” said AIREF president Sanjib Kumar.
He said they look after safety and operations of trains across the country. “We work more than eight hours due to staff crunch. We can’t even spend time with families because of heavy pressure at workplace. But railway pays the qualified engineers less than a nurse’s salary,” Kumar said.
ECoREA president Bobin Mohanty said members of both the outfits decided to hold special safety and passengers amenities drive on July 4 as a mark of protest. This drive will continue for indefinite period, he added.
Mohanty said they (junior engineers and senior section engineers) put more than 100 per cent efforts for safe journey of 23 million passengers daily despite acute shortage of manpower and materials. From July 4 onwards, they won’t compromise with safety for the sake of punctuality, he added.
“We have been maintaining our work pace without sufficient manpower and materials, but the Railway Board doesn’t pay heed to our demands. From July 4 onwards, we will work as per availability of manpower and materials. It will delay several passenger and goods trains across the country. And it will give Railway Board a strong message that how railway functions without their dedicated effort,” said Mohanty.
Railway Convention Committee chairperson Bhartruhari Mahtab and Parliament Standing Committee on Railways member Balabhadra Majhi, who attended the meeting, assured the engineers to take up the matter with the Railway Board and railway minister Suresh Prabhu.
“We have met railway minister on the issue and requested him to resolve the matter. Even BJD MP Nagendra Pradhan has filed a petition before the Committee on Petitions of the Lok Sabha to discuss on the issue. But nobody pays heeds to the engineers’ demands,” said Mahtab.
Majhi admitted that injustice has been done towards the engineers. “I will take up the issue with Railway Board and discuss this at standing committee meeting,” he added.