Substandard materials, large number of vacancies blamed

The All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF) has accused the Railways of compromising on passenger safety by procuring substandard materials and not filling the large number of vacancies in essential services.

Expressing concern that the introduction of new trains had increased the burden on the already understaffed mechanical/electrical departments, AIRF assistant general secretary N. Kanniah on Tuesday warned of an indefinite strike if the demands of railway workers were not met before May 31.

He said that poor maintenance had resulted in old coaches and locomotives developing frequent mechanical or technical problems.

“There have been many complaints of locomotive (engine) failures resulting in the detention of express trains. A number of passengers had lodged protests over cockroaches/bed bugs and failure of the air-conditioning system in coaches. The introduction of new trains should be followed by the sanction of additional posts or at least filling of existing vacancies.”

Hundreds of employees owing allegiance to the AIRF and Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) resorted to a one-day fast in Chennai and all divisional headquarters of the zone on Tuesday in support of various demands. “We are opposing the inclusion of pensioners under the new pension scheme. Railway employees have a separate budget and the ongoing pension system is very efficient and should not be disturbed.”

More In: Tamil Nadu | National