Adhir assumes charge, contract staff worried

More than a thousand contractual staff’s fate hangs by a thread after the changes made in the railway ministry was announced on Sunday.

With Adhir Chowdhury taking over, more than 350 contractual employees in the Metro Railway who were hoping of permanent postings with the Trinamool Congress at the helm of affairs are now left apprehending their destiny.

“TMC inducted more than 750 contractual workers as permanent staff in the metro railway. Around 350 more contractual employees were on the verge of being absorbed when it quit UPA-II. The fate of these workers remain uncertain since there is very little chance that the new Congress minister will give these workers permanent status,” Sushanta Dey, general secretary of Trinamoolaffiliated Metro Checking Assistant Contractor Union said on Monday.

A majority of the contractual workers are hired by outsourcing agencies that supply labour to the three railway wings in the state. Metro Railway had switched over from the traditional magnetic ticketing system to magnetic token system in June last year.

With that, more than 1,000 contractual employees who have specialised duties assigned to them were on the verge of losing their job. These included ticket checkers, gangmen, AC staff and FCDC staff. Later, at the initiative of transport minister Madan Mitra; around 750 of these workers were reinstated. The remaining was supposed to follow suit.

“Not only that, putting Adhir in charge of railways is purely an act of vengeance on TMC, we will be having difficulty meeting other demands too. TMC would easily accept our demands, but I guess now we have to prepare to face agitations,” Dey said.

Contractual staffs in southeastern and eastern sections have a similar story to tell. A few hundred contractual employees including cleaners, sweepers, and guards who were having hopes of being inducted as permanent staff are now apprehensive of their future.

“I will not comment on the issue as I am not aware of any outsourcing agency operating in the railways,” Subhrangshu Roy, TMC MLA from Bijpur on North 24-Paraganas said. Incidentally, a large number of contractual labourers belong to his constituency. Chowdhury is among three state MPs to be inducted into the Union cabinet.


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