On Tuesday, 21st November 2017 we had published a lead story, ‘Railways should provide compensation to contractual workers’. In this report, we had mentioned about how three contractual women labours lost their lives after being run over by an express train near Malad. We also raised our concern regarding hardships faced by contractual workers family members after they lose the breadwinner of their family. Often it has been observed that railways turn a blind eye towards the safety of contractual workers and fail to provide compensation to them after the occurrence of a mishap. The kin of deceased workers have to run from pillar to post for claiming compensation from railways which is a tedious task.
Often gangmen risk their lives while carrying out track maintenance work as they have to concentrate on their work and keep an eye on running trains. After we published the story Gajanan Kirtikar, Shiv Sena MP and member of Railway Board intervened in this matter and have forwarded a letter to the Railway Board, New Delhi urging them to offer compensation to the kin of deceased women labourers. Mr Kirtikar has also assured us that he will look into this matter and ensure justice to contractual workers.
Vijay Kamble, Bhim Army spokesperson said, “Railways is responsible for the death of three women who died while crossing railway tracks near Malad. Railways have failed to pay compensation to contractual workers and are least bothered about providing amenities to them. If these workers were permanent employees then railways would have to pay compensation to them.”
Prakash Reddy, CPI activist said, “Railways should not shirk their responsibilities and offer compensation to contractual workers. They should pay them proper wages. Railways must abolish contractual system and absorb these labourers as permanent employees. Despite being the largest employer railway continues to sideline these workers. Railway minister is busy tweeting while accident continues to occur.”
Chitra Wagh, NCP women’s wing president said, “Railways should take the responsibility of providing compensation to the kin of deceased women workers. They should not make any discrimination between permanent and contractual employees. We will take this matter with the railway minister and urge him to offer compensation to the victims.”
J R Bhosale, General Secretary of Western Railway Employees’ Union said, “We had organised a meeting on 22nd November and I had said that railways should intervene in this matter. The meeting was attended by general manager but they have not given their feedback. Railways should offer compensation to them as per rules and regulations.”