Indian Railways bans recruitment of ‘Bungalow Peons’

File photo for representational purpose only.   | Photo Credit: P.V. Sivakumar


The Indian Railways has banned the recruitment of Telephone Attendant cum Dak Khalasi (TADK), better known as ‘Bungalow Peons’. Curtains were drawn on the age-old tradition of allowing senior Railways officers to nominate a person to be appointed as peons to work in their residences or camp offices.

Despite stiff resistance from Railways Officers’ Associations from across the country, the Ministry of Railways went ahead with its plan to end the practice, and also directed General Managers of Zonal Railways and other establishments to review existing posts, sources in the Southern Railway said on Thursday.

In an order issued on December 1, 2020, the Ministry of Railways said the engagement of “fresh face substitute as TADKs” would be discontinued with effect from August 6, 2020. Existing posts and incumbent TADKs would continue and all issues relating to their service conditions and regularisation shall be governed by existing policy prevalent over Zonal Railways.

As regards posts of TADKs currently vacant, General Managers were told to review requirement/necessities for continuing with such posts keeping in view operational and functional considerations. “Alternatively, these posts may also be filled by regular employees, from any unit in Indian Railways, subject to willingness of the employee and the officer concerned,” the order said.

Earlier, when the Railways announced a review of the policy on TADKs, Officers’ Associations across the country wrote to the Chairman Railway Board against the move. About 4,200 TADKs are working at the residences of Railways officers as on September this year. Bungalow Peons are handpicked by Railways officers for appointment on the basis of a prescribed criteria of age, qualification etc. They are categorised under Group-D and paid Level-1 pay matrix of the 7th Pay Commission, with starting pay of ₹18,000 plus allowances as admissible.

Charges of ill-treatment

Though the Bungalow Peons are to be engaged in attending phone calls and record movement of files at the residence of Railways officers, there were allegations of their being ill-treated or abused. In some cases that were reported, Zonal Railways were told to investigate in accordance with the rules.

The move to review and do away with the concept of Bungalow Peons evoked stiff resistance from the officers. The Federation of Railway Officers Association in a representation said it led to a sense of “anguish and apprehension amongst railway officers’ fraternity”. Stating that a similar selection procedure existed in several Judicial and Civil administrations, the association said that “a TADK selected through the officer concerned imparted a sense of safety, confidence, trust and privacy for the families of the officers”.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 8:44:48 AM |

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