ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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STEEL- Jettisoning Indigenous Technology

February 23, 1985 tion of railway workers. The All-India Carriage and Wagon Staff Council represents them but it is doubtful that it has been able to address itself adequately to the needs of 1,60,000 carriagemen working in different divisions. Carriagemen maintain engines and coaches, do all the fitting jobs and minor repairing. They are often suspended summarily for accidents caused by the mechanical failure of engines. It may even happen that an accident in Kanpur gives an opportunity for officers of Eastern Railways to suspend and subsequently retrench two or three carriagemen at the Tikiapara Car- Shed near Howrah. According to the workers of the Tikiapara Shed, they are forced to declare engines fit for running even when they require attention for many more hours. In 1981 alone, for various reasons including a few accidents, 60 workers were sacked by the Eastern Railway management. Workers are victimised for trade union activities. Work- to-rule invariably results in break-in- service. For their participation in work- to-rule agitations at different places, no less than 5,000 carriagemen in Eastern Railways have lost continuity of service. While work-load in every car-shed has been rising with more and more engines going out of order, the strength of carriagemen has been declining. At the Tikiapara Shed, one of the biggest in eastern India, the work-force has been reduced by 800 to 1,700 within a short period. A reduced work-force at such a vital place means poor maintenance which in turn causes more accidents. Stagnation is also a serious problem for the carriagemen. As things are, most of them will have to retire without being upgraded. On the other hand, the inspectors supervising them get promotions quickly and a situation is emerging in which there is an increasing numbers of supervisors to police a decimated work-force in the car-sheds.

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