STORY-1 : Top brass of Ministry of Railways has directed that there should be austerity in various spheres of Railway life. Towards this end, several austerity measures have been introduced, principal being cut in Over Time Allowance and Travelling Allowance and deferring its payment where already due. Several years of ‘No hike’ tariff policy has led to severe financial crunch, in turn, necessitated an unprecedented rise in fare subject to, of course, political compulsions arising out of and in the course of courtship with government’s alliance partners.
STORY-2 : With 19 Railway Recruitment Boards enjoying siesta in hibernation, no or negligible recruitment has taken place during the past several years. That does not mean men have not been inducted in Railways. The Indian Railways has many other ‘inlets’. On Sports ground annually hundreds of sportspersons are inducted in Group ‘C’ and ‘D’. Similarly, inflow in Scout & Guide, Cultural Quota, Minister’s Quota, Bungalow Peon continues unabated. Last but not the least, compassionate ground appointments to the wards in lieu of Railwaymen dying/medically decategorised while in service.
An additional whopping wage bill of 300 crores per year is going to be thrust upon Railways in the ensuing few months when a contingent of strong support staff (class IV) enters the already surplus rank and file of Railwaymen in the name of ‘safety’.
It is amusing to know that the mandarins of Rail Bhavan think that the ‘safety’ can be ensured by these lowest rung green horns.