Railways steps down – move to scrap station masters’ posts kept in abeyance

Thiruvananthapuram, June 28: The decision of Thiruvananthapuram railway division authorities to cancel 40 posts of assistant stationmasters has been kept in abeyance.

Office of the divisional railway manager has conveyed the decision to leaders of the recognised employee union, sources said.

The decision will be kept in abeyance pending enquiry by a two-member panel into the circumstances leading to the decision to cancel the posts.

The union had given an ultimatum that unless the decision was revoked by Friday, they would launch a work-to-rule agitation.

This would have brought network-wide services to a ‘crawl,’ if not entirely stopping them, since station masters double up as ticketing clerks or man public relation windows at a number of stations.

Many had been doing two shifts at a stretch due to acute shortage of staff. Supervisory station superintendents have to assume train-passing duty in Thrissur, Guruvayur, Chalakudy, Thiruvalla and Varkala, sources said.

The decision to cut down even more posts had come against this context, and was said to have been based on an internal report.

The fact that posts had been kept vacant for a year was said to have further legitimised it, since they could be stuck off if remaining unfilled for six months at a stretch.

The 40 posts in 28 railway stations under the division were sought to be removed at a time when 77 posts were already lying vacant and even more trains were being introduced, sources said.