Thursday, September 10, 2020

To 

THE CHAIRMAN 

RAILWAY BOARD   RAIL BHAVAN 

NEW DELHI-110001 


Respected Sir, 

Sub: Proceedings of the virtual CWC meeting of AILRSA held on 3rd and 4th of September 2020. 

The Central Working Committee of this Association was held on the virtual platform on 3rd and 4th of September 2020. The meeting was presided by a presidium consisting of Com. L.Mony, Central President and Com. N.B.Dutta, Working President. As many as 32 delegates representing 17 zones deliberated on the agenda. The meeting adopted the following resolutions. 

1. Condolence Resolution: 

This meeting pay homage to his Excellency Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, Ex.President of India. We also pay tribute to the departed leaders of our Association, Com.M.R. Sabhapathy, Ex.Central President, Com. Paul David Sam, Founder President of South Indian Railway Firemen Council and ex. Zonal President, Com. Baber Abbas, Ex.Central Vice President and Zonal President of Northern Railway. We cannot forget the Loco Running staff, other Railway employees and health workers who lost their lives in the war against Covid 19, the soldiers sacrificed their lives while on their undeterred effort to protect the boarder and also to prevent terrorist activities. We shall also pay homage to the victims of Covid and those migrant workers lost their lives while fleeing back to their native and also died in natural calamities. 

2. Resolution on Privatisation of Railways: 

The Central Government is driving the implementation of recommendations of Bibek Debroy Committee in a faster pace of a Bullet Train. Debroy report is a master plan to unbundle the Railways, then to lease out the Railway property to private train operators and finally to sell the enormous assets of Indian Railway gathered by many generations from 1856. 

Abandoning of Railway budget was the first step in the implementation process of the destructive policy, which was an action purely intended to camouflage the destructive reforms in Railways from the scrutiny of the Parliament and there by the people of India who are the real owners of the huge wealth and also the prime beneficiary of this mammoth public sector Enterprise. The reforms in Indian Railways from early 90s to 2016 were aimed at privatisation of non - core sector. But the reforms after 2016 were aimed to lease out the entire asset of Indian Railways to Private Train Operators and then to hand over the assets too to the Corporates. 

Then came the ‘100 days action programme’ with a clear indication of unbundling of Indian Railways and handing over train operation to private entities. Unbundling means breaking the Indian Railways to numerous splinter companies, trusts or Corporations. One for owning and maintaining track, one for owning assets like Train Engines, wagons and coaches, one for owning the land and buildings, one for railway construction and maintenance works, one for Konkan Railway, one for dedicated freight service, one for telecommunication, one for rolling stock maintenance and another one for rolling stock production etc. etc. Handing over of operation of Thejus trains to IRCTC is the trial run of leasing out the Railway assets to Private. Announcement of RFQ (Request For Qualification) for 151 pairs of private trains in 109 selected profitable routes and the proposal for bidding is the death knell of the Government owned Railway in India. 

Then came the ‘starting whistle’ for administrative reforms vide Order dated 02.09.2020 converting CRB to CEO and also reverting Sri. Rajesh Tiwari Member (Traction) as Officer on special duty (Safety) and surrendering 3 apex posts of Member (Staff), Member (Engineering) and Member (Rolling stock). This Order is the first step not only towards disintegrating and weakening of the Railway Board, but also for large scale surrender of posts to the tune of 5.7 Lakhs as recommended by Debroy. Railway Board had already ordered for ban on recruitment, surrender of 50% vacant posts and restrictions on OT, TA and other allowances. Multi skilling aimed for staff reduction is on the anvil. 

At present Railway Board is the Central secretariat to Railway Ministry and is the policy maker on Rail industry, the rule makers and also the executive body. The final aim of the reforms is to take away policy making and rule making powers from Railway Board and reduce it to the status of an executive body of 17 Zonal Railways which are converted as independent train operating companies which do not possess any assets but few Loco Pilots, Guards and TTEs. Those 17 operating companies will have the liberty to compete with hundreds of private train operators to gain lease agreement for train sets from IRFC(Indian Railway Finance Corporation who owns rolling stock) path for the train from IRIC(Indian Railway Infrastructure Corporation who owns the track after implementing the reforms) and also for gaining passengers and goods booking with private train operators. 

The present move to unbundle the Railway and thereby privatize / corporatize the production / maintenance/ operations of Railways if unchecked, may lead to enormous increase of ticket rates, season ticket fares, cancellation of subsidies allowed to students, senior citizen, differently abled (Divyang) persons, patients etc. This will also scatter the job prospects of many educated unemployed youth, reservation policies of Government, the security on job, salary and pension of the Railway employees. This will be a threat to the National Integrity and also stall the development of underdeveloped rural areas. The cost of social obligation undertaken by Railways was Rs.40,000 crores and the pension liability was Rs.46,000 crores last year. Privatisation of Indian Railways will result in transfer of those liabilities to the Government exchequer or withdrawal of such social securities. 

Aligning to the proverb “every journey of thousand miles begins with a single step”. Railways started implementing its Human Resource Management by compulsorily retiring ex Central President of AISMA last year and now DOPT has laid down a policy guideline on it. The target fixed by Debroy is to screen every employee at the 20th year of service for pre mature termination, and thereby to torpedo the job security of Government employees enshrined in article 311 of Indian Constitution. This CWC meeting vehemently protest against the anti - labour and anti - people policies of privatization of Railways, other PSUs and various service sectors. 

So this Association calls upon all Railway men, Railway trade unions, Rail users, all Central Trade Unions, all democratic forces and people of India to launch a strong movement of “Save Railway to Save India” to reverse the present destructive policies and strengthen the Railways as a Government owned public utility service to serve the common mass.The virtual CWC meeting of AILRSA held on 3rd and 4th September 2020 decided to trumpet the call for a united movement “Save Railways to Save India”. 

3. Resolution on premature forced retirement 

Virtual CWC meeting of AILRSA held on 3rd and 4th September 2020 vehemently protest against the Government of India OM No. 25013/03/2019 Estt-A-IV dated 28.08.2020 issued by Department of Personnel and Training for premature forced retirement of Central Government employees. 

The above OM arms the Govt. with powers to give any Govt. employee marching orders after completing 30 years of service or reaching 50/55 years of age or older, i.e., five to ten years before the scheduled date of retirement, through forced premature retirement, on various vague grounds, such as, “ineffectiveness”, “doubtful integrity” etc., to mention only a few. A designated authority stipulated by the said OM is assigned with infinite power to pick and choose the targeted employee for such forced premature retirement on those vague and arbitrary grounds, and the victim-employee will not have the right to be heard prior to his forced retirement, as natural justice demands. Post-facto, he may approach Advisory Committee appointed by the Government, which amounts to the Executive sitting in Judgment! 

This is a clear indication to Railway Administration for implementing the recommendation of Debroy Committee for HRD screening on completion of 20th year of service and continuation of service beyond 20 years will be a mercy and not a right of Railway Employees. 

Such move of the Government of India reflects their overall autocratic attitude towards the basic rights of the employees, the workers and their unions as also revealed by their hell-bent bid to alter all labour laws of the country, seeking to impose conditions of virtual slavery on the workers and complete abrogation of labour rights in favour of the employers, dismantling of Public Sector and some 

Govt. departments in detriment to national interests. So we demand the Government to uphold the job security of Central Government employees enshrined in Article 311 of Constitution of India. 

4. Resolution on COVID safety: 

The dedicated service of Running Staff of Indian Railways to maintain the supply chain of food to the people, supply and distribution chain of industries, exports and imports during the pandemic is praiseworthy. They did it amid the fear of contracting Covid 19. These services are considered as essential service and running staff were exempted from the mandatory quarantine after every tour of duty and thereby accelerating the spread among other running staff and their families. As many as 25 running staff lost their life and about 600 running staff contracted Covid. Thousands of their family members too affected with Covid. The record shows that 0.63% of total running staff are contracted with Covid while that of India as a whole is only 0.29%. 

So the protection protocol for health workers to be enforced for personal protection, and sanitisation of work place – the Locomotive, Crew booking office and Running Rooms. Stay at running rooms also to be brought down to the most minimum possible by changing the working pattern and enroute interchange of Crew. 

This Association vehemently protest against the order for sanitization of Loco by ALP.Extension of crew beat and HQ bye pass now resorted in many divisions on account of increased speed of Goods trains to be stopped forth with. 

The primary precautions to prevent COVID is to cover the mouth and nose in public places. As such breathalyser for dozens of people a day is dreadful. So breathalyser test is to be totally avoided while sign ON and OFF along with CMS ON and OFF till COVID 19 subside. 

We also demanded to extend an insurance of Rs.50 lakh to all running staff and staff in crew booking offices. 

This meeting also demand that at least one hospital in every division should be converted as COVID hospital. Now running staff are forced to depend on private hospitals for treatment of COVID which bring unbearable financial burden on them. 

5. Protest against denial of full wages and other privileges to Running staff: 

Basic Pay of Running staff is defined as individual basic pay added by 30% of it representing the pay element paid through running allowance as per 903 of running allowance Rules and IREM 1303 III. In order to ensure payment of pay element when running staff is not able to earn running allowance, due provisions are made in the rules vide 905, 907 and 927 of Running allowance Rules. Accordingly running staff are rightful to receive ALK at HQ for every spare day owing to cancellation of trains and also on rest days in between online training programmes. 

Denial of ALK at HQ during the lockdown period where all passenger trains were cancelled virtually impose 30% reduction in their pay which is against the rules and is a differential treatment against running staff as all other railway employees are paid with salary in full. So the virtual CWC meeting demand to pay ALK to all running staff who could not earn running allowance on any day due to cancellation of train services. 

There were various complaints about treatment of absence from duty on account of lockdown, quarantine, and isolation due to COVID from many Divisions. Meeting demands the entire period of absence from duty on the above accounts as duty. 

Railway board had ordered postponement of all periodical medical examinations on account of COVID lock down from 23.03.2020. This has resulted in unnatural extension of observation period for those have reported the RH or for medical board examination and for PME prior to lock down until the PMEs were restarted on 01-05-2020. We demanded to sanction SCL for the above period in all such cases. 

6. Protest against utilisation of Coaching crew to work Goods trains. 

Point no. 11 of the minutes of video conference of CRB with GMs says that, LP (Passenger/Mail) may be utilised for freight movements wherever there is shortage of LP (Goods) so that not to affect the movement of essential commodities. The above referred directive is misused by the divisional authorities to utilise Coaching crew to work Goods trains in a regular measure. This Association registers its serious protest against it. Loco Running Staff are much aggrieved on the unjust, illogical and differential treatment to them. Normally a LP/Goods is getting promotion as LP(P) after a long irregular, uncertain and tedious working in Good All staff in those posts fetched the promotion after qualifying a promotional course and passing a selection test. So utilisation of Coaching LPs to work Goods trains is against existing rule provisions amounts to dishonour to the senior Loco Pilots and tantamount to a major penalty of reversion/degradation. It may also lead to accidents due to improper judgement of breaking distance of goods train as LP/P and LP/M are habited to work fast light loaded coaching trains only. 

We also submit that at present coaching traffic is thin and large numbers of newly recruited ALPs have joined in many divisions. So this meeting urge to promote qualified LP/Shunting and Sr. ALPs as LP /Goods in the existing vacancies. If that too is insufficient, promotions may be granted on temporary measure. 

7. Protest against E- Pass : 

Every transport industry on road allows 100% free travel throughout the system for its employees. The total cost of free travel allowed in Railways is estimated as 9,000 crores a year which is in lesser proportion to the amount of LTC claimed by the counter parts in the Central Government sector. The move to implement E pass is aimed to further reduction in the cost of free travel on privilege pass. The privilege passes are utilised by railway employees mainly for their journey to their native place to visit their parents or wards. So we demand to continue the present system as the E pass will snatch the existing privilege. 

8. Protest against DA freeze. 

This meeting protest against the DA freeze ordered against central Govt. employees for a period of eighteen months from 01.01.2020. Such an order is against the payment of wages act, constitutional rights of central govt. employees and also against the declaration of the Central Govt. itself. It has got more adverse effect on employees those retire during this period. They will loose considerable amount in leave salary and gratuity. So this meeting demand to cancel the order of DA freeze. 

9.Protest against EOTT. 

Three Zones have started trials for replacing Guard with EOTT in freight trains. This meeting vehemently protest against this as an immovable machine mounted on the last vehicle cannot substitute a qualified man in ensuring safety especially when there is an accident. Protection of adjacent lines and the train itself will be at stake. A train parting will block the entire section for many hours together. All Loco failure or rolling stock failure has to be attended single handed by the ALP and the result will be enormous train detention. So we demand the Railway administration to withdraw from the move. 

The above resolutions are submitted before various authorities for immediate actions. 



Thanking you 

                                                                                                                Yours faithfully 

:                                                                                                            ( M.N.Prasad) 
                                                                                                           Secretary General


                                                                                                                                                 

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