Ex-servicemen upset over cancellation of services

Ex-servicemen engaged for manning the level crossing gates in the Southern Railway, Tiruchi Division, find themselves in a piquant situation after being shown the doors in the midst of their contract period.

Around 40 ex-servicemen aged between 35 to 55 years were first engaged for manning the level-crossing gates in Tiruchi Division on a 12-month contract from February/March 2020 to February/March 2021. The placements though offered purely on a contract basis was viewed as a blessing in disguise by the ex-servicemen families since such employment was offered during the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The contract was extended for another 12-months period from March 2021. However, in May this year the Southern Railway authorities informed the ex-servicemen engaged for level crossing operation duty in the Tiruchi Division that their services were no longer required and they need not have to report for duty from June, sources said.

Baffled by the unexpected development, a group of ex-servicemen tried to elicit the reason for the abrupt cancellation of their contract service from the concerned officials, but in vain.

Subsequently, a group of dejected ex-servicemen contract workers sought the support of train passengers associations in the delta districts, particularly in Tiruvarur-Karaikudi section, as the deployment of ex-servicemen on a contract basis at a few level crossings on this section was viewed as a positive step towards eradicating the ‘on board (train)’ gatekeepers system adopted by the Southern Railway for operating the lone DEMU passenger service between Tiruvarur and Karaikudi. With the help of the train passengers associations they had presented a memorandum to the Tiruchi Division senior officials recenlty seeking re-employment at least for the left out contract period, sources said.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 8:34:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/ex-service/article36615919.ece

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