Railway Trade Unions oppose Debroy Panel report on Rail Reforms

There are undeveloped areas where railway can develop infrastructure for profit on large scale,” said R P Bhatnagar

New Delhi: Railway trade unions on Thursday demonstrated against the Bibek Debroy panel’s interim report on reforms and restructuring of the Indian Railways, demanding that it be scrapped. They see it as a move to gradually privatise railways. “We have thoroughly studied the interim report of the Bibek Debroy committee. It reflects that the committee has not closely studied the Indian railways’ functioning. It suggests that three departments of the railways — medical, Railway Protection Force (RPF) and infrastructure — be handled separately by private companies. It suggested that operations of railway services be handled by private companies. These factors are not in favour of growth of railways. We have given notice to the government that if this report is implemented we will go on strike,” said R P Bhatnagar, president of the Central Railway Majdoor Sabha (CRMS). “There are undeveloped areas where railway can develop infrastructure for profit on large scale,” added Bhatnagar. Y G Joshi , president of the National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU), said, “There is already an immediate need for approximately 2 lakh staff in the Railways. The population has grown, the number of trains has increased , so manpower should balance it. The government should be looking at these aspects. Instead, the committee report suggested introduction of private players in operating goods trains, mail and suburban trains.” They asked who would ensure coordination if infrastructure, operations and maintenance in railways are dealt with by different private companies “Season tickets are cheaper than any other existing fare. If private companies come into this, the cost will increase for passengers. We have already seen the fare hike of Metro Rail that’s handled by a private company,” said Divakar Deo, general secretary of the Rail Kamgar Sena (RKS).