The Railway ministry has issued an order by which the bungalow peons or khalasis will be selected from Group D staff recruited by Railways. The new order ends the practice of engaging the bungalow peons by the officers directly as per their wish.
The new appointments will not be made for the post of ‘khalasis’ or ‘bungalow peons’ who work at the residences of senior officials. However the general managers can fill up such vacant posts with “regular employees” or “substitute” telephone attendant-cum-dak ‘khalasis’ (TADKs), according to an order.
Earlier in August, a communication by the Railway Board indicated that the colonial-era practice of appointing ‘khalasis’ will be completely done away with.
Ther new order clarified that the Khalasis would be continued, posted from among the existing pool and no fresh appointments to the post will be made.
The new order says that the posts may be filled from substitute TADKs (telephone attendant-cum-dak ‘khalasis’) available in Indian Railways. 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 lien and seniority of above employees shall be protected in their parent cadre. General Managers may review requirement/necessity for continuing with such posts, keeping in view operational and functional consideration.
Upon joining the Railways as temporary staff, TADKs become Group D staff following a screening process after a period of around three years.
TADKs were initially recruited In the earlier days of the Railways to ensure security for his family of the officers posted in remote areas or working in the field during odd hours. The were also assigned to do odd official work like take phone calls or ferry files. In those days these TADK staff would usually become porters, mechanics for air-conditioned coaches, or even ticket examiners. However, over the years, the role was relegated to that of domestic helps and then to office peons.
As there were complaints of abuse and ill-treatment of the TADKs by the senior officials, the Railways in 2014, constituted a joint secretary-level committee of nine members of the Railway Board to review the post and policy of recruitment to the post.
In 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had urged Railways to consider abolishing the practice in favour of officers taking an allowance.
A TADK staff, who have a minimum educational qualification of up to Class 8, are paid around Rs 20,000-22,000 per month and given benefits akin to Group D staff of the Railways.