Tuesday, October 13, 2020

When Com.K.C.J retiring from service...........

Yes it became true that our veteran leader ending his Railway service on 10/10/2020 on his VRS request. No running staff like to hear it. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Decisions of CWC meeting held on 3rd & 4th September 2020.

I. Program of action against Privatisation:
Central Trade Unions and Independent Federations declare

#Nationwide_General_Strike

#On_26_November_2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

KOREA RAILWAY: 

Most railways were operated by private companies  until 1946 when all the railroads except trams were nationalised under the rule of, in case of South Korea, the US Military Government . By the end of the 1960s, all the tram companies had gone bankrupt so there were no private rail companies left. 
HONG KONG RAILWAY:

Hong Kong's rail network mainly comprises public transport trains operated by the MTR Corporation Limited(MTRC) The MTRC operates the metro network of Hong Kong and the commuter rail network connecting the northeastern and northwestern New Territories to the urban area. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

 SOUTH AFRICAN RAILWAY: 


The total network of South African is about 36,000 km which Government is owned. Some small portions of rail system have recently been privatised. There are some luxury trains in South African and one of the most notable trains is known as the Blue Train. The train runs between Cape Town to Johannesburg. A high-speed rail network has been proposed between Johannesburg and Durban but the work is yet to begin. The country has one of the best networks in the world. 
JAPAN RAILWAYS: 

Rail transport services in Japan are provided by more than 100 private companies, including 

· Six Japan Railways Group (JR) regional companies (state owned until 1987) which provide passenger services to most parts of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu; 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY: 

The Australian railway network is the world's seventh longest at more than 40,000 km. Except for a small number of private Railways ,most of the railway network infrastructure is owned and maintained by the Australian government either at the federal or state level. 
BRAZIL RAILWAYS: 

The railways were nationalised under RFFSA(Rede Ferroviaria Federal, Sociedade Anonima) in 1957. After 1999 RFFSA was broken up and in 2007 RFFSA dissolved and services are now operated by a variety of private and public operators. The 37,743 km network is predominantly freight-focused and includes major iron ore rail lines. The country's passenger rail services are mostly concentrated in urban and suburban areas. Eight Brazilian cities have metro systems, São Paulo Metro being the biggest among them. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

RUSSIAN RAILWAYS: 

Russia's whole network, operated by state-owned monopoly Russian Railways (RZD), runs for over 128,000 km. In 2013, the network carried 1.08 billion passengers and 1.2 billion tonnes of freight - the third highest freight volume after the US and China. 
UNITED STATES RAILWAYS:

The US rail network, with an operating route length over 250,000 km, is the biggest in the world. Freight lines constitute about 80% of the country's total rail network, while the total passenger network spans about 35,000 km. The US freight rail net work consists of 538 railroads (seven class I railroads, 21 regional railroads and 510 local railroads) operated by private organisations. Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF railway are among the largest freight railroad networks

Monday, September 21, 2020

GERMAN RAILWAY: 

In 1989, the Berlin wall fell and in 3rd Oct 1990 Germany was reunited. on 1st January 1994, the State railways Deutsche Bundesbahn and Deutsche Reichsbahn were formerly reunited to form the current German Railway Corporation(Deutsche Bahn).State-owned Deutsche Bahn dominates Germany's 43,468 km railway network, accounting for about 80% of the total freight traffic and 99% of the long-distance passenger traffic. 
CHINESE RAILWAYS: 

The first Chinese Railway train was operated in 1876, from Shanghai to Woosung (15 miles) nearly a quarter of a century after the first train in India was run in April 1853 between Bori Bunder and Thane (21miles) 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

ARGENTINA RAILWAYS: 

ARGENTINA’s railways are woven into the country’s national fabric. Carrying European immigrants into the country’s interior, and exporting agricultural produce the other way, the system helped Argentina to become the seventh-wealthiest developed country in the world by 1908. After a period of rapid expansion, the network peaked at around 47,000km, making it the largest in South America, but political instability, economic crisis and improvements to the road network triggered a decline from which the railways never really recovered. 
BRITISH RAILWAYS: 

The Total Rail network of UK is 15811 KMS( 5374 KMS electrified). 2566 railway stations. 

On January 1, 1948, the railways were nationalized and British Railways was created, under the overall management of the British Transport Commission, later the British Railways Board. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

To 

The Hon’ble Prime Minister, 

Govt. of India,  New Delhi. 

Respected Sir, 

Sub: Long pending grievances of loco running staff; request for kind intervention. 
The Historic One Day Strike by Central Government Employees of 19th September 1968 

The indefinite strike of Central Govt. Employees in1960 was the first major strike of Central Govt. Employees after independence. The five days strike from 1960 July 11 midnight was brutally suppressed by the Central Government declaring it as “Civil Rebellion”. The main demand of the strike was improvement and modifications in the 2nd CPC recommendations. The Need Based Minimum Wage, though adopted by the 15th Indian Labour Conference in 1957, was rejected by the 2nd CPC. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

“The expressions privatization,liberalization and deregulation are freely used in the context of railway restructuring,often synonymously.This committee will use the word liberalization and not the terms privatization and deregulation,as both of these two terms are apt to be misunderstood.” 

BIBEK DEBROY 

Friday, September 11, 2020

On 11 Sept 2020. 

Dear Comrades, 

Two private British Companies namely the East Indian Railway Company and the Great Indian Peninsular Railway(GIPR) Company founded in London in 1845 started the construction of the Indian Railways. Railways were introduced in India on 16th April 1853. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Com. Saroj Kumar Dhar widely known as Com. S.K. Dhar born in Chattgram district of Bangladesh on 14.02.1936, move from Bangladesh at his early age to West Bengal and joined Railway as engine cleaner at Burdwan in 1956.
In December 2019, the Union Cabinet in a major move to reform the 150-year-old railway board of the Indian Railways, approved to restructure the apex body of the Indian Railways by trimming its strength to half, and unifying its eight railways services into a central service called the Indian Railway Management Service.
THE CHAIRMAN 

RAILWAY BOARD   RAIL BHAVAN 

NEW DELHI-110001 
To 

THE CHAIRMAN 

RAILWAY BOARD   RAIL BHAVAN 

NEW DELHI-110001 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Emergence of AILRSA 

Birth of Firemen’s Council and the formative struggles 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

 Railway Privatisation Cannot Be Allowed

 Hemalata 

Indian Railways is the lifeline of our country’s economy. It is a part of the life of crores of our people. It is the fourth largest rail network in the world, carrying more than 2.3 crore people from one place to another and traversing, on an average, 30 lakh km every day. Till today, it is the world’s largest railway system under a single management, the government of India.

In addition to its key role in our economic development and in providing an affordable mode of transport to the common people, Indian Railways has important contribution in developing the unity and integrity of the nation. It is this sector, along with the entire public sector, that the Modi led BJP government has placed at the altar of the private corporates, both domestic and foreign.

Privatising the railways, as part of the now discredited LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation) process, was on the agenda of the ruling classes since the official advent of neoliberal regime in our country.

During the last around three decades, policies adopted by successive governments were aimed at diluting the responsibility of the government in providing basic and  essential services to its citizens like health, education, affordable transport, communication etc. All these are being increasingly handed over to private players for their profit maximisation. This process reached the pinnacle now under the second tenure of the Modi led BJP regime.

In its first stint in governance, in 2014 itself, the Modi I government set up a ‘High Level Committee’ led by the NITI Ayog member, Bibek Debroy. This committee expressed its unhappiness about the failure to rope in private players despite repeated attempts by the previous government. It recommended the destructive unbundling of the Indian Railways and handing it over piecemeal to the private corporates. The government announced 100% FDI in almost all the activities performed by Indian Railways – construction, operations, maintenance, rolling stock, dedicated lines, train sets etc.

Within days after returning to power in 2019, the Modi II government announced labour law amendments, privatisation and creating land banks as its priorities to be taken up within 100 days. Through this, it had made clear its intentions to put the country on sale, including to foreign monopolies. This, despite its coming to power by raising pseudo nationalist slogans and positioning itself as the only patriotic force in the country during the Parliamentary elections. The 100 day action plan of the Indian Railways included corporatisation of the production units and other services. Privatisation of railway stations has already been started in its first tenure.

It is appalling that this BJP government has chosen the period of lockdown, imposed under the National Disaster Management Act, ostensibly to contain Covid 19, to fast track all these measures.  Crores of workers have lost their jobs due to the lockdown. The young are staring at an uncertain and bleak future. Economy, which was already on the slide before Covid 19, is plunging into an abyss. People at large are in distress due to the health crisis and the economic crisis. They are bound down by lockdown protocols that prevent people from coming together en masse to lodge their protests against the attacks on their livelihood and against measures intended to mortgage the interests of the nation. The BJP government apparently considers this the best time, best opportunity to be grabbed to serve its corporate masters.

Hailing the measures to suppress workers’ rights taken by the Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat state governments as one of the ‘boldest and bravest initiatives’, the NITI Ayog CEO, Amitabh Kant wrote ‘It’s now or never: States are driving bold reforms. We will never get this opportunity again, seize it’. This is a clear proof of how the ruling classes look at the situation that pushed crores of our toiling people into distress and pauperised them – as an ‘opportunity’ to further exploit workers, suppress their rights, and loot the country!

The BJP government is exactly following their advice. It has ‘seized’ this opportunity to fast track measures to privatise and dismantle the public sector and hand over all our country’s wealth to the big corporates, domestic and foreign. It has ‘seized’ this ‘now or never’ situation to direct all state governments to change labour laws in favour of the employers, thus turning workers into virtual slaves.

The fast tracking of measures to privatise the railways has to be seen in this context. The BJP government has invited ‘Request For Qualification (RFQ) to the private corporates, Indian and foreign, for operating 151 passenger trains between 109 pairs of major stations, over the Indian Railways tracks. The 151 private trains will operate in 12 clusters including Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Prayagraj, Secunderabad, Howrah, and Chennai.

Split and Sell

Bibek Debroy committee recommended separation of the roles of policy, production, regulation and operation, totally neglecting the synergy that is required between these processes. This was deliberately done to facilitate privatisation the railways piecemeal.  

The Modi I government has embarked upon implementing the disastrous recommendations of Bibek Debroy committee in right earnest.

It gave up the practice of presenting a separate railway budget and to merge it with the general budget, as per the committee’s recommendation.


The Union Cabinet of Modi I government has approved setting of the Railway Development Authority (RDA) through an executive order, as per Bibek Debroy committee’s recommendation. The RDA will fix passenger fares and freight charges on the basis of the costs. It will provide access of the existing railway tracks, built with people’s money to the private train operators. One of its objectives is to ‘encourage’ providing a ‘level playing field’ and safeguarding the interests of the private players.

 

Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited, Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation, Indian Railways Rolling Stock Company etc have already been constituted, each as an independent autonomous body, not under the control of the Railway Board. The government has decided to corporatise the production units, to facilitate their privatisation.

The most important aspect in the smooth running of a big network of railways in the country is that every single activity has to be carried out in maximum coordination and combination with the other. Obviously, this synergy will be lost if these functions are split and handed over to different entities having no coordination with one another, and sometimes even competing with one another.

It is for this reason that the British, who constructed the railways in their own commercial interests to facilitate transport of goods from and to the ports, had all the different functions, including production, repairing and maintenance workshops, printing presses etc under the single administrative control. Bibek Debroy committee’s recommendation to break Indian Railways into pieces so that the private corporates can easily grab the pieces will be disastrous for the entire railway system and particularly for the common people. But, the Modi government, committed as it is to private corporate interests, brushed this aside and decided to split the jeopardising the smooth functioning and safety of the passengers.

Dubious Arguments 

The argument in favour of private participation is that private participation it would increase efficiency, provide ‘world class travel experience’ to the people, reduce journey time, provide high standard of services, maintain punctuality, improve safety etc. The need for waitlisted tickets will be eliminated when private trains can be made available ‘on demand’. In addition, it is argued that privatisation would generate employment and the government would be able to earn revenue through haulage charges, energy charges and by sharing the gross revenue of the private participants.

These are not arguments supported by facts.

Safety and Efficiency

We have witnessed deaths and grievous injuries due to industrial accidents, mainly caused by absolute negligence of the owners. An estimated 20000 people in the surrounding areas of Bhopal choked to death and thousands more developed severe health complications and continue to suffer for decades due to leaking of a deadly gas at the Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal. Recently 12 people in the nearby villages died and over 1000 became sick due to gas leak in the South Korean LG Polymers chemical plant near Visakhapatnam. These are only a couple of examples in our country where big multinational corporations are involved. Many such examples can be cited across the world.

Hundreds of industrial accidents have been taking place killing thousands of workers every year in our country alone due to the utter negligence of safety by the profit greedy private employers, in their attempt to save money. To expect that safety in railways would improve by privatisation is nothing but a crude attempt to deceive people.  

Punctuality, efficiency etc do not depend on ownership – public or private. These depend upon the efficient maintenance of the tracks, signalling system, the rolling stock etc as well as the recruitment of skilled personnel in adequate numbers, and above all, effective synergy between the different functions of railway operation.

The government has neglected all these. It has not implemented the recommendations of the Task Force on Safety, submitted in 2017 or that of the ‘White Paper’ of the Railway Ministry in 2015. It has been estimated that 4500 kms of old track need to be replaced every year. But this is not done on the pretext of lack of financial resources. As a result backlog goes on increasing. Replacement of signal gear that has become over aged is not being done, on the same pretext.

Employment

Old tracks and old signalling systems require more workers for maintenance. But, instead of recruiting and deploying the necessary staff for this, the government has reduced workforce. Sanctioned posts have been cut down.

Immediately after the announcement of the Railways to hand over 109 routes to the private sector, on July 2, 2020 the Ministry of Railways issued a letter to all General Managers of Indian Railways including production units informing them of its decision to freeze creation of new posts. It directed them to review posts created in last two years but not yet filled up, surrender the newly created posts if recruitment has not taken against those posts and surrender 50% of the existing vacancies. All these are being done in the name of ‘economic measures’. The government has also reduced all operation and maintenance activities across all departments on the railways by 15%.

 

Earlier, on 19th June 2020, the government has circulated updated austerity measures to all Zonal Railways. These include, among others, review and closure of uneconomic branch lines to the extent possible; critical review and curtailment of outsourcing activities, especially OBHS (On Board Housekeeping Services), linen management, station cleaning, lifts and escalators manning, station announcement etc should be critically reviewed and curtailed. It has decided to cut down overtime and travel allowances for employees by 50% and cut down other controllable allowances by 33% to 50%.

This drastic curtailment of existing posts will more than offset whatever posts would be created by the private players. Besides, as already being witnessed, the new jobs that will be created by the private sector will be of precarious nature like contract workers, fixed term employees, apprentices, trainees etc without any job security, income security or social security. Women are employed in the Tejas Express, the private train running between Delhi and Lucknow, as attendants. These women work for around 18 hours a day, for Rs 15000 per month. They were punished on the pretext that their makeup was not up to the mark! This is an example of how employees, particularly women, are treated by the private companies. Permanent jobs in the railways for our children will be a pipe dream.

Losses

One of the arguments for privatisation is that the government cannot incur huge losses on the railways; it cannot go on spending ‘taxpayers’ money’ to subsidise it.

The fact is that nowhere in the world does transport meant for common public, rail or road, runs on profit. It is the responsibility of an elected government to ensure that all basic necessities of daily life are accessible to its citizens. Affordable public transport is part of daily needs in a civilised society.

In addition, the so called ‘losses’ in passenger transport are compensated in other areas. Transporting raw materials, including coal and other minerals etc for production of goods, electricity generation etc and finished products for marketing, the subsidised transport of essential commodities etc are indispensible aspects of the overall economy of the country. Railways play a key role in this entire process. Hence so called loss in public transport like railways is more than compensated by the gains of the entire economy. 

According to E Sreedharan, former Managing Director of DMRC, popularly known as the ‘Metro Man’, nowhere in the world has the PPP model in construction and maintenance of Metro rail completely succeeded. He said that it is foolish for the government to invest all the money in setting up infrastructure and then hand over operations to private parties and allow them to enjoy the revenues. But, the BJP government, in its eagerness to serve its corporate masters by handing over the country’s wealth, is not ready to take sane advice from any quarter.

We must remember that private corporates would come to run trains for making profits; not to serve the people. This is proved hundreds of times in many sectors, in our country, across the world. Corporate bosses themselves have declared this unambiguously many times.

World Class Travel Experience: For Whom?

The media is full of stories that privatisation of railways would provide ‘world class travel experience’ to people. What this ‘world class travel experience’ means is not clear. 

But what is clear is that the private players would be allowed to fleece the passengers.

The passenger and freight charges will, henceforward, be decided on the basis of cost. At present, passenger fares comprise 53% of the cost with 47% of the cost being subsidised. This subsidy will now be given a go by. Hence, by this account alone, the passenger fares will almost be doubled. In addition, there will be no concessions for senior citizens, children, physically handicapped, cancer patients, students etc like now. Passes will not be allowed. Indian Railways, till now an affordable mode of transport for the poor and toiling people, will no more be so. The passenger fares in Indian Railways will be increased to provide a ‘level playing field’ for the corporates so that they can compete with the Indian Railways and earn profits. 

Private players can also use the present tracks laid with public money, without making any extra investment. They have to pay only access charge. The concept of subsidising traffic of essential commodities will also be removed.

Private players cannot be expected to provide subsidy. In addition, like in the airlines at present, passengers have to pay for preferred seat options; and also for baggage and cargo, if these are not included in the ticket fare. And of course, on board services like catering, bed rolls, content on demand, wi fi etc all will be chargeable.


In the ‘Tejas Train’, which is being operated by private sector through IRCTC between Delhi and Lucknow, the ticket fare is more by Rs 700 to Rs 900. The running time is only 10 minutes less and one stoppage extra.

 

In the same train, the dynamic fare goes up to Rs 4,700. At present, for 1,000 km, the Railways are charging from Rs 700 to Rs 900; for the same distance the private players will be charging Rs 2,200. The passenger has to shoulder this load.

By increasing speed, cutting down on running time, they want to attract the people who at present travel by air. The private players will also decide stoppages, which will be very few. In short, private trains are meant for people who have the money and can pay. They are for the rich who take the rail route to places not accessible by air. The so called ‘world class travel experience’, if any at all, is for those who can pay; not for the crores of common people who use Indian Railways regularly, as part of their daily lives.

 

Another argument in favour of introduction of private trains is that the huge waiting lists will be cleared, by increasing the capacity. In 2018 -19, Indian Railways could clear only 16% of the 8.85 crore wait listed passengers. Railways have increased seats by 5.35 crores. But out of these 70% are in AC coaches and only 30% in sleeper coaches, while the share of demand for seats in sleeper coaches far exceeds that in AC coaches. More seats should be made available in the sleeper coaches to reduce the waitlisted numbers. But the government is not interested to cater to the needs of the common people. Privatisation, with profit as the motive, will not solve this problem. Rather it will make railway services inaccessible to the common people, particularly the poor.

 

Privatisation of Railway Stations

 

The move to hand over major railway stations to private parties in the name of ‘station development’ through PPP mode has already started. The government has identified 400 railway stations for making them ‘world class’. Of these 50 were to be taken up on priority basis. Already tenders have been called for redevelopment of 23 major stations including New Delhi, Mumbai, Howrah, Chennai, Bengaluru, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Calicut etc. Habibganj station in Bhopal has become the first station in the country to be handed over to the Bansals for development under the PPP model. The private contractors who will manage the station will be called Station Facilitation Managers (SFM). The contract will be given to SFM in lieu of lease premium charge and lease rent. The lease will be for 45 years.

According to NITI Ayog CEO, Amitabh Kant, these railway stations should be developed ‘in the model of Delhi, Mumbai airports, where investors would have freedom to do what they want to...’ So, that is what ‘world class’ means. in short, railway stations will be out of bounds for the common people, for the poor; two wheelers and three wheelers will have no place for parking in the vicinity of railway stations; only four wheelers.

The entire station along with the land around it will be handed over to the private company, which along with the Indian Railway Station Development Corporation floated for the purpose, will develop the station. According to the available information, the existing employees in the station would be transferred and the private developers would deploy their own employees. Only railway tickets and operation would remain with the railway authorities. All the rest including platform tickets, food courts, parking areas, advertising rights etc would be given to the private entities.

The private entities would be free to use the land, and that is one of the major attractions, for real estate development. They can construct hotels, hospitals, spas, shopping malls, convention centres etc in the land around the station. The poor rickshaw and auto drivers who have been using the spaces around the station to park their vehicles and seek passengers would become out of bounds for them. The common passengers who use their services will lose the convenience of finding affordable local transport closer to the station. The passengers will be allowed to wait only in the ‘lounges’ or ‘concourses’ by paying fees, but not on the platforms. The common passengers, coming from distant places cannot wait on the platforms like now, if they come a little early or if the train is late. They have to cough up money.

Thus, this ‘world class’ again is only for those who can pay; for the rich; not for the common people and the poor who will be deprived of the only affordable transport available to them now.

Already Habibganj railway station in Madhya Pradesh and Gandhinagar in Gujarat are being developed under this agreement. Surat, Chandigarh, Anand Vihar, Baiyappanahalli stations are also reportedly being developed in this way.

 According to IRSDC, eight applicants qualify for Gwalior station, six applicants qualify for Nagpur station, nine applicants qualify for Sabarmati station and six applicants qualify for Amritsar station.

A built-up area of 54 lakh sq ft is allowed for commercial development. No land use change and prior environmental clearance are required.

Production Units


Last year, the government took a decision that the Indian Railways will hive off all its production units and associated workshops like ICF Perambur, RCF Kapurthula, Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli into a corporation called Indian Railways Rolling Stock Company. All the production units are functioning efficiently, but even then the government wants to convert these production units into PSUs so that it can be sold out. 

We have 6 production units, which are capable of manufacturing diesel and electric locomotives, LHB (Linke Hofman Busch) coaches, fit to run at 160 km per hour and are upgradable to 200 km per hour speed. The Indian Railways called these production units its ‘gems’. But, now the BJP government is not utilising their capacities. Instead it is importing diesel and electric locomotives from foreign companies like General Electric and Alstorm at a much higher cost. This exposes the hypocrisy of the government’s talk of ‘Make in India’ as well as ‘Atmanirbharta’ (self reliance). General Electric has been given the contract to ‘supply and maintain’ diesel locomotives, to ‘deliver’ 100 locomotives a year on an average. They will not be manufactured in India, only assembled and maintained at a far higher cost to the country.

Production units are rightly claimed as ‘the gems of Indian Railways’, by the Ministry of Railways itself. The 6 production units of Indian Railways manufacture more than 600 diesel and electric locos and more than 3000 coaches per year. The government itself acknowledges the advantages of having in house manufacture of rolling stock. Our production units assimilate and adopt new technology and produce locomotives and coaches at a much lower cost. It is also cheaper to maintain the locomotives and coaches in our own factories. They enable import substitution and promote ancillary units as well. Thus they not only promote ‘Make in India’ in the true sense but also cost less, and generate employment.

But despite all high decibels noise about ‘Make in India’, the BJP led Modi government is determined to dismantle and destroy our capacity to ‘Make in India’.

General Electric, a huge American multinational corporation has been given the contract for setting up a diesel locomotive unit in Marhaura in Bihar. The contract was approved in 2014 when the UPA was in power and was finally signed by the NDA government. As per the contract Indian Railways would buy 1000 diesel locomotives from General Electric over 10 years. It was reported in the media that the Railways was discussing a proposal to exit this diesel locomotive project in view of its plans for near total electrification of tracks by 2022, to combat pollution. General Electric issued a stern warning that any such decision would ‘cause the government to incur substantial costs’.  The government was compelled to retract. The Railway Minister had to immediately issue a statement that the project was on track. This is how the BJP government allows itself to be arm twisted by big multinational corporations.

It is reported that under the contract, General Electric will ‘supply and maintain’ diesel locomotives of 4500 HP and 6000 HP. The first locomotive has reportedly ‘arrived’ from the USA at the Mundra Port in Gujarat. The CEO of GE South Asia has reportedly said that they plan to ‘deliver 100 locomotives per year on an average’. It is obvious that GE is not going to manufacture the diesel locomotives in India; they will only be assembled and maintained. What an innovative way to ‘Make in India’ indeed!

Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), the production unit in Varanasi - one of the ‘gems of Indian Railways’ - has been producing diesel locomotives and continuously upgrading them. It has indigenously produced India’s first diesel locomotive engine of 5500 HP, ‘Bheem’, in 2015 through a joint effort with RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation) of the Indian Railways with support from EMD (Electro Motive Diesel) of the USA. It has been manufacturing 4500 HP diesel locomotives. It has set a new record by manufacturing 330 diesel locomotives in 2015-16 against the target of 320. It was felicitated by the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as the ‘best production unit’.

Why should we import diesel locomotives when our own Varanasi Diesel Locomotive Works can produce them, at a far lower cost that GE? Why should we import when our Varanasi Diesel Locomotive Works, situated in the Prime Minister’s own Parliamentary constituency, possesses the capacity of supplying more than 300 locomotives every year compared to only 100 by GE? Why should the government spend more money for buying from these multinationals instead of investing in further development of our research and indigenous capabilities?

The deals of GE and the French firm Alstom has been given the contract for electric locomotive unit in Madhepura, together are worth Rs 40000 crore. The cost of locos from these two units is estimated to be 2-3 times of those being manufactured by our own manufacturing units. A former member of Railway Board, RC Acharya said that the country saved Rs 20000 crores annually through manufacturing the rolling stock within the country. In addition maintenance of the locos will also be done in the sheds run by their own companies. These measures are bound to lead to the closure of the existing production units and workshops of Indian Railways. Thousands of workers are likely to lose their jobs. Is this job creation or job destruction?

 

The Integral Coach Factory in Chennai has turned out its ‘first complete state of the art LHB coach’ in 2014 and is getting ready to ‘complete switch over to production of stainless steel LHB main line coaches in the next five years’. It has been manufacturing Train-18 Coaches for Rs 98 crore with 160 kmph speed, meeting all the required specifications. Recognising this achievement, the Prime Minister himself changed the name from Train-18 to ‘Vande Bharat’. But now, the order for 45 Train-18 given to ICF was stopped by the Railway Board.

The Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala is building LHB coaches fit to run at 160 km per hour, which are upgradable to 200 km per hour. The Rae Bareily coach factory has the capacity to produce 1000 LHB coaches a year. But its orders for manufacture have been cut down to only 150 LHB coaches a year, obviously at the direction of the Ministry. The government is not placing orders for its full capacity utilisation. Instead, the entire production of wagons has been handed over to private companies.

Cutting down production in our own units, keeping our maintenance sheds idle and signing contracts with big foreign monopolies –is this BJP’s brand of ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’. This is against the interests of the nation and its people. We call it anti national and anti people.

The government has also decided to close down the printing presses which the Indian Railways has been maintaining in various parts of the country. Probably this too is meant to benefit the printing presses in the private sector which would get huge orders for printing material that a mammoth organisation like the Indian Railways would require.

Withdrawal of Services

It is to be remembered that Bibek Debroy committee recommended that railways should develop stations that cater to more than 25000 passengers daily and to close down stations that register 50% dip in ticket sales in a two year period. As per these recommendations, many busy stations would become ineligible for infrastructure development. The government is reported to be also considering whether it should continue with small stations that are run on contract, i.e. stations where there are only ticket sale and cleanliness activities. It is also reported to be considering a proposal to restart only profitable train services after the lockdown. These measures will definitely deny and deprive hundreds of thousands of people in our villages and small towns of the train services on which they depend to go to the nearby towns and cities on their day to day trade and other requirements.

If the government, elected by the people and which should be accountable to the people resorts to such measures –neglecting safety of passengers and employees, withdrawing service to the poor and common people, what would prevent the private corporates to take up ‘economic measures’ to increase their profits?

None of these arguments, of the ‘efficiency’ or ‘safety’ or ‘employment generation’ of private sector, are valid. It is just the opposite; nothing but a ploy to discredit the Indian Railways, and projecting private participation as a credible alternative to mislead the people into accepting privatisation of the Railways. Neither does international or national experience support these arguments.

Global Experience

 What is the experience of the countries where railways have been privatised?

 British Railways was privatised in 1996. It was split into around 25 train operating companies and almost all were sold to private sector or closed down. Soon, accidents surged. Trains were running late. Scores of people died or got injured. People were frightened to travel in these trains. The British government was compelled to intervene and form a public sector company to take over rail track infrastructure. The British experience in privatising railways is considered a total failure. The slogan of ‘renationalisation of railways’ by the Labour party in its election manifesto in 2019 drew massive response from the people. The Railways in Northern Ireland was nationalized in the 1940s and unlike British Rail, remain state owned.

 The experience of Australia was similar. The Committees formed to evaluate accidents in Britain and Australia pointed out the lack of coordination among different companies in infrastructure, track and operations as one of the major causes, as each company tried to maximise its profits at the cost of safety.

 In Argentina, which also privatised railways, private players drastically cut down the length of network to one quarter of its capacity; many lines were closed down or discarded. Service quality and number of passengers has sharply declined. 70000 jobs were lost. 793 railway stations were closed. Many rural towns dependent on railways were abandoned and became ghost towns. Ultimately the government was compelled to announce complete nationalisation of the railway lines and services in 2015.

 Indian Experience

 We have experiences in our own country too. Reliance invested in rolling stock, electrification and signalling in Delhi Metro’s Airport line, and started operating the line. But, when it found that it was incurring losses, it had abandoned it. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had to take it over and has been operating it since then.

 In Mumbai, Reliance Infrastructure took almost 7 years to complete 11 km of elevated part of Mumbai Metro line 1. It has been charging very high fares but still claims that it is incurring huge losses.

 Guidelines for Privatisation

 The BJP government has also decided the guidelines for running of private trains. The concession period will be for 35 years. They will use the tracks and signalling systems and other infrastructure built by Indian Railways with people’s money. They can use the Indian Railways Reservation System for booking tickets. Indian Railways will look into the safety measures of these private trains. They will be operated by the driver and guard provided of Indian Railways.

 For this they will have to pay fixed haulage charges and energy charges as per actual consumption. In addition, they will have to pay a share in the gross revenue, which would be determined through a bidding process. There is no system of paying any deposit. 

 The private entities shall be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains. They will be responsible for maintenance of the trains. Indian Railways will provide space to the private firms in the existing maintenance depots for upgradation or setting up of maintenance depots. The private company will bring its manpower, tools, and plants as required for undertaking the maintenance operations

 ‘Non Discrimination’ Or Preferential Treatment?

 Railways will offer ‘non discriminatory’ access to the private trains. That means, if a private train is scheduled to depart from a particular station, the government will ensure that no new similar train will depart from the originating station in the same route within 60 minutes of the scheduled departure of the private train. This will ensure that the private operators would not lose passengers to other trains and that its capacity is fully utilised. The option for passengers would be either to take the private train at higher fare, or wait for at least another hour for an Indian Railways train, if they could not afford the higher fare, without any guarantee of getting one.

 There is no guarantee of services. If there is demand for another route, the private train can be diverted; the booked passengers for the scheduled route will have to wait. It may not only involve time but also additional expenditure. For example, if they are with families, they may have to rent a room, may be in the same station complex where the private company has built a hotel on the Railway land leased to it as part of station development.

 Railways are People’s Property

 Indian Railways has been built with the hard toil of the workers of this country with our people’s money. It is meant to provide affordable transport to the workers and common people of this country. It is a service any elected government is obliged to provide to its citizens at affordable rates. It cannot be considered to be a source of profit.

 Indian Railways cannot be allowed to be privatised to create an avenue for profit generation for the private corporates. We, the Indian people, the working class, cannot and will not stand as silent spectators to this anti national machination of the BJP government. We will fight unitedly and we will stop it at any cost.

 CITU appeals to the entire trade union movement including to the unions representing the railway employees, to join together in the struggle against railway privatisation by mobilising the entire workforce in the country. It urges upon the working class of the country irrespective of their affiliation to unitedly and strongly oppose this heinous act with all their might, to save Indian Railways. It is important that the railway employees with the history of militant struggles play a leading role in this struggle. CITU assures full solidarity and support to such struggle.

 At the same time, CITU calls upon the entire working class, all sections of toiling people and all progressive and patriotic people of our country to join the struggle against the privatisation of railways, but not only railways. The entire public sector and public services including health, education, transport, communications, banking, insurance etc need to be protected through a strong people’s movement.

 The attempts of the BJP government to mortgage the interests of the country and its people to the big corporates, foreign and domestic, have to be red flagged and stopped. Neoliberalism, the root cause for such disastrous policies must to be reversed and replaced. The working class and the people of our country have to send a strong message to this anti national BJP government that the country IS NOT FOR SALE. WE WILL NOT ALLOW IT.

 

July 2020

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Don’t Destroy Indian Railways in the Name of Reforms 

Basudeb Acharia, Vice President, CITU 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

PRIVATISATION OF RAILWAYS – A DESTRUCTIVE MOVE, THE NATION IS BEING PUT ON SALE 

Dr.K Hemalata President CITU 

Thursday, August 13, 2020


About the Loco men Struggle in 1973. 
Excerpts from History of Railway Trade Union Movement a Study by Nrisingha Chakrabarthy. 
About Loco men Struggle of 1973: 

BT Ranadive, President CITU 
AGITATION OF LOCO RUNNING STAFF 1973 – 

ALL INDIA STRIKE BY LOCOMEN: 
The Saga of Loco men’s Struggle 

S.K. Dhar, Secretary General AILRSA

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Dear friends,

Please find here the finalised programme by Central Trade Unions for next phase of agitations.

Joint circular from Central Trade Unions to the state chapters of CTUs and to Sectoral Federations and Associations

Sunday, July 26, 2020

THE HINDU BENGALURU, JULY 25, 2020 

Friday, June 12, 2020

In an interview with ThePrint, Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav also said that Shramik trains will not be used to ferry migrants back and that workers should rely on employers for a ticket.

SANYA DHINGRA 10 June, 2020 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

There's one group which has not received the requisite attention of either mainstream media or masses in general – the backbone of one of the world’s largest Rail network: the Loco Pilots of Indian Railways.

Shubham Kumar16 May 2020

Tuesday, June 9, 2020


Changes to Labour Laws by State Governments Will Lead to Anarchy in the Labour Market

Monday, June 8, 2020

Our labour laws 

Have we thrown the baby with the bathwater? 
Contempt for labour: On dilution of labour laws 

MAY 09, 2020 

Centre should not allow exemptions from welfare laws for workers mooted by States 

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Industrial Relations Code is for Capital to Maximise Profits 

R Karumalaiyan 
Code on Social Security: An Attempt to Dismantle Workers’ Social Security 

R Karumalaiyan 
ILO Joins Hands with Modi Govt to Reduce Minimum Wage of Workers 

J S Majumdar 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Code on Wages Bill – Modi Govt’s Return Gift to Corporates 

R Karumalaiyan 

Friday, June 5, 2020

INDUSTRIAL SAFETY 

Deadly violation of safety norms in Delhi 


T.K. RAJALAKSHMI 

 January 17, 2020 

Thursday, June 4, 2020

MINIMUM WAGES 

Bare minimum 

T.K. RAJALAKSHMI 
RISING UNEMPLOYMENT 

Cooking up numbers 

T.K. RAJALAKSHMI 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Both of them have been driving a bit during the lockdown steering railway staff to Jolarpet and Mysuru stations for carrying out infrastructure work.
A train pilot spoke on his experience of operating a Shramik Express, one of special trains operated by the Indian Railways to carry thousands of migrant labourers, to their homes.
With passengers from the previous New Delhi-KSR Bengaluru Daily Special having arrived earlier and some still around, there was no clarity as to which passenger belonged to which train.

COVID-19 pandemic a mere excuse for BJP to scuttle labour laws 

Kerala’s Finance Minister Dr TM Thomas Isaac writes why tweaks in labour laws introduced by BJP-ruled states amid the COVID-19 crisis violate norms of International Labour Organisation and jeopardise future of workers 
Changes in Labour Laws Will Turn the Clock Back by Over a Century 

Under the cover of the economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, labour rights cannot be done away with. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Explained: What labour law changes by states mean 

Last week, a number of state governments made key changes in the application of labour laws. What are the labour laws in the country, and how can such changes impact firms, their workers, and the economy? 

Monday, June 1, 2020

On Labour Laws: 

Dr K Hemalatha, President CITU 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Press Information Bureau 

Government of India Ministry of Labour & Employment 

30-July-2019 

Lok Sabha Passes the Code on Wages Bill, 2019 
Central Government notifies Code of Wages 2019 

PTI New Delhi | Updated on August 23, 2019 Published on August 23, 2019 
Modi’s Labour Law Changes Will Increase Exploitation of Workers 

Date: August 02, 2019 

Newsclick looks at some of the main anti-worker components in the Wage Code Bill. 

Newsclick Report  15 Sep 2017 
CITU 

A note on 

THE CODE ON WAGES BILL, 2017 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

CITU flays Centre for ‘unilateral’ amendments in labour laws 
Mean and petty labour reforms 

Colin Gonsalves 

July 14, 2014 
Modi Cabinet clears labour reform Bills 

Likely to be tabled in current Parliament session 

BS Reporter | New Delhi  July 31, 2014 
Narendra Modi govt is right to back labour reform measures 

N Madhvan Last Updated: August 1, 2014 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Modi's vision for labour reforms move a step forward as Cabinet approves amendments to three laws 

ET Bureau Jul 31, 2014, 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

As many as 44 central labour laws are most likely to be subsumed under four labour codes in 2020, making it a year of reforms as the government works to bolster investments and tackle slowdown blues. 
The Historic Railway Strike of 1974 

by Com A.Mathew, Secretary, Kamgar Ekta Committee, Maharashtra 
The Historic Railway Strike of 1974 

by Com A.Mathew, Secretary, Kamgar Ekta Committee, Maharashtra 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Historic Railway Strike of 1974 

by Com A.Mathew, Secretary, Kamgar Ekta Committee, Maharashtra 
Com Har Charan Singh 

Com.Harcharan Singh was born on 06.06.1933 in West Punjab (now in Pakistan) as the eldest among the 5 children in a big and poor family. After independence, his family migrated to India.He completed his matriculation in 1950 and owing to his father's death and financial condition of his family, he couldn't study further. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Com Har Charan Singh 

Com.Harcharan Singh was born on 06.06.1933 in West Punjab (now in Pakistan) as the eldest among the 5 children in a big and poor family. After independence, his family migrated to India.He completed his matriculation in 1950 and owing to his father's death and financial condition of his family, he couldn't study further. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Com Har Charan Singh. Ex AILRSA Leader from NR

Com.Harcharan Singh was born on 06.06.1933 in West Punjab (now in Pakistan) as the eldest among the 5 children in a big and poor family. After independence, his family migrated to India.He completed his matriculation in 1950 and owing to his father's death and financial condition of his family, he couldn't study further.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

1974 RAILWAY STRIKE-ITS PROGNOSIS AND IMPACT ON THE WORKING CLASS MOVEMENT AND RAILWAY MEN IN PARTICULAR 

RG Pillai, Joint Secretary, Dhakshin Railway Employees Union(DREU) 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Com. Nrisingha Chakrabarty, Secretary CITU, who was Railway worker and a leader of railway trade unions for several years gives us the present publication 

“The Great Railway Strike And After 

Exerts from his book. 
Com. Nrisingha Chakrabarty, Secretary CITU, who was Railway worker and a leader of railway trade unions for several years gives us the present publication 

“The Great Railway Strike And After 

Exerts from his book. 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Com. Nrisingha Chakrabarty, Secretary CITU, who was Railway worker and a leader of railway trade unions for several years gives us the present publication 

“The Great Railway Strike And After 

Exerts from his book. 
Com. Nrisingha Chakrabarty, Secretary CITU, who was Railway worker and a leader of railway trade unions for several years gives us the present publication 

“The Great Railway Strike And After 

Exerts from his book. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Rana Behal’s Review of ’The Indian Railway Strike of 1974’ by Stephen Sherlock 

3 August 2016 

Com. Nrisingha Chakrabarty, Secretary CITU, who was Railway worker and a leader of railway trade unions for several years gives us the present publication 

“The Great Railway Strike And After 

Exerts from his book. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

1974 railway strike in India 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
Com. Nrisingha Chakrabarty, Secretary CITU, who was Railway worker and a leader of railway trade unions for several years gives us the present publication 

“The Great Railway Strike And After 

Exerts from his book. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Misery After Master Strike 

The railway strike of 1974 raised hopes by championing solidarity. Yet, as hundreds were hit in the reprisals, its leaders helplessly let the initiative pass. 

Ranabir Samaddar  06 March 2017 
The Great Railway Strike And After 

Nrisingha Chakrabarty 

A CITU Publication   WITH A FOREWORD BY 

B T Ranadive, President – CITU 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Remembering George Fernandes is remembering life during the Railway Strike 

Raghavendra Rao — 31 January, 2019 
Remembering the 1974 railway strike 

T P Venu 10 May 2016 

Hyderabad: 
Com. Nrisingha Chakrabarty, Secretary CITU, who was Railway worker and a leader of railway trade unions for several years gives us the present publication “History of Trade Union Movement.” 

Exerts from his book. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

PTI   NEW DELHI , MAY 15, 2020 

The joint platform of Central Trade Unions has decided to observe nationwide protest day against the anti-worker and anti-people onslaughts of the government on May 22. | 

Suspension of labour laws violates international commitments on labour standards and human rights, say CTUs 
It was 1974 total strike of Railways that first showed India what life was without trains 

For the country’s Railway system, described with the beaten-to-death cliché “Lifeline of India”, shutting itself down indefinitely and directing its vast machinery to keep only the essentials running required just a flipping back of a few pages. 
Com. Nrisingha Chakrabarty, Secretary CITU, who was Railway worker and a leader of railway trade unions for several years gives us the present publication “History of Trade Union Movement.” 

Exerts from his book. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Striking - Memories of May 1974 and the Indian Railway Workers 



Babu P. Remesh is Associate Fellow, V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, and Coordinator, Integrated Labour History Research Programme & Archives of Indian Labour. 
Com. Nrisingha Chakrabarty, Secretary CITU, who was Railway worker and a leader of railway trade unions for several years gives us the present publication “History of Trade Union Movement.” 

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