The Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers has written to the railway minister against the closure of the Railway Printing Presses. The confederation says that the move will make thousands of employees become jobless. It also states that the move is also not beneficial to the Railways as expenditure of Stationery and other important documents to be published from Private Press will shoot up.
Earlier in June 2020, the Railway Board has decided to shut down the last remaining five railway printing presses in the country. The presses that are to be closed are Central Railway press in Byculla, and other presses at Howrah (Eastern Railway), Delhi (Northern Railway), Chennai (Southern Railway) and Secunderabad (South Central Railway). The railway unions are against this move and mention this as a move towards privatisation of railways.
However, Railways says that it wants to outsource the printing requirement because it costs around 40% less outside. Labour costs are extremely cheap in the printing industry compared to railways. It wants to cut wasteful expenditure and deploy human resources for more productive work in operations, safety or commercial departments.
The presses were started in the Brit-era The Byculla printing press was opened in 1895 and was the hub of printing activity for the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, the predecessor of the Central Railway. Tickets, receipts, documents, time tables, forms and books meant for use by the Railways and the public were printed at the press. Currently, it prints around 2 crore general tickets used in unreserved ticketing systems. Earlier it uses to print 25 crore tickets annually.
The confederation letter is reproduced below
CONFEDERATION OF CENTRAL GOVT EMPLOYEES & WORKERS
1st Floor, North Avenue PO Building, New Delhi – 110001
Dated: 22nd December-22020
Honble Shri Piyush Goyal.
Minister of Railway,
Government of India,
We have come to know that Railway Ministry is going to close Five Railway Printing Presses. This move of Government is neither in favour of Staff of Railway nor to the Department. Thousands of employees working there will become jobless and expenditure of Stationery and other important documents to be published from Private Press will increase.
We as Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers strongly protest the move of closure of Railway Printing Presses and request your honour to kindly review the decision and stop the process of closure of Railway Printing Presses.
Hoping for a positive action.
Confederation of CGEAW