06 Dec, 2014 3:41p.m.

Railway unions stage dharna to oppose 100% FDI

As part of the joint decision taken by Central trade unions, the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) including the Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh (WRMS) staged a dharna and took out a rally to protest against Government of India's new policy to introduce 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) and privatization in railways and changes in the existing labour laws.

Large number of railway employees joined the protests at Vadodara railway division office at Pratapnagar.

All the central trade unions of the country including the Indian National Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India Trade Union Congress, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh among others have taken a joint decision protest against Centre's decision. "NFIR along with WRMS staged agitations in all six railway divisions of Western Railway including Mumbai, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Ratlam," Sharif Khan Pathan, WRMS's president said.

NFIR had also sent a communication to union railway minister Suresh Prabhu requesting that the Indian Railways should be given the freedom to generate earnings.

"The cost of services provided to the customers should be allowed to be realized fully, the capacity available should be utilized 100 percent as against 65 percent at present and the projects where the return on investment would be less than 23 percent should be abandoned," WRMS's general secretary and NFIR's vice-president J G Mahurkar said in a statement.

"Also, the central government should scrap the new pension scheme which is without social guarantee and revert back to the old pension scheme for railway employees because the working conditions are risky and large number of employees die on duty," said Mahurkar.

"If these proposals are accepted by the railway ministry, Rs 50,000 crore can be generated annually which can be invested for development of Indian Railways instead of 100 per cent FDI and increased privatization. This will also ensure better service to the customers," he said

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