Nagpur: The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR) has vehemently opposed the Centre’s proposal for FDI in Railways and threatened to go on indefinite strike in June this year.
According to NFIR General Secretary M Raghaviah, there is no need for FDI in Railways. “Government’s move to slowly hand over the Railways to foreign hands is like the entry of East India Company, which ruled the country later,” he said. NFIR has offered the Railway Ministry to take loan from the Provident Fund of the Railway employees and repay them in due course for funding certain viable projects.
“NFIR is strongly against FDI in Railways and will oppose it tooth and nail,” Raghaviah told reporters here on the sidelines of Zonal Conference of its affiliated unit Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh (CRMS). He said if the government wants to raise money for certain
new projects, it would be appropriate on their part to decide the priority and viability of the project and utilise the PF to certain extent.
Raghaviah further said that a small amount can be taken from their salaries as loan for similar purpose. NFIR had discussed the issue of their opposition of FDI with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and had apprised him of the lurking danger in FDI, he said. NFIR, which represents a majority union, has accused the government of ignoring safety aspects in the Railways, and not filling vacant posts in the operating and allied departments.
Listing measures to augment revenue of the Railways, Raghvaih said passenger fare should be hiked and more facilities should be provided to them. People are willing to pay extra provided you extend good facilities including catering, he said. Railways should discontinue paying Rs 9,000 crore dividend to the Government, he said and questioned the facility of senior citizen concession. There are 22 crore senior citizens in the country and Railways is incurring huge losses due to this concession, he felt.
NFIR has demanded removal of bonus ceiling, merger of DA with basic pay and payment of interim relief to employees ahead of Seventh Pay Commission report due in August. He also ridiculed the decision of starting a bullet train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad saying country needs more trains for masses rather than the affluent class.
The Trade Union Joint Action Committee (TUJAC) comprising 34 lakh employees of central government, has chalked out plan
for demonstration before Parliament in April and decide the dates for going on indefinite strike in June-July. The TUJAC decision was taken on December 11 in New Delhi, Raghvaih added.