Railways have agreed to allow porters who have become gangmen to return to their old profession.
“Some of our gangmen have expressed their desire to become porters again. We are considering their case sympathetically,” Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
However, all gangmen would not be allowed, she said. “It would not be for all but on individual basis. They have to submit applications to their respective Divisional Railway Managers and their cases would be taken up.”
Former Railway Minister Lalu Prasad had introduced a scheme last year allowing porters to become gangmen. As a result, about 14,000 porters across the country became employees of railways as gangmen.
Some porters after becoming gangmen could not cope up with the pressure of the job and wanted to return to their old profession. But railways did not allow it.
The new decision was taken after a delegation of gangmen from Northern Railway on Wednesday met the Railway Minister in her office. About 1,500 porters from the zone have become gangmen.
“Some gangmen have not been able to perform as they are physically weak so we have to consider their case on humanitarian ground,” Banerjee said.
Assuring the gangmen that their case would be considered on individual basis, she said, “The gangmen are assets of railway. So, we cannot allow all gangmen to become porters.”
When asked if it was a wrong decision to allow porters to become gangmen, she said “I would not comment on it.”