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Nirupama Sekhri

Listener of Small Voices | Posted on |

Railway Engineers Protest


“Stop humiliation of engineers!”

“Imagine an engineering job with NO promotion!” that is a primary grievance that an energetic, dynamic group of railway engineers have with their job.

Railway Engineers Protest

(Stop humiliation of engineers)

“We are the backbone of the railway network. We have to continuously upgrade our knowledge to guide and train the huge workforce that makes the trains run, yet, we begin and retire in the same post. Why?” demands AK Tyagi, Secretary General of the All India Railway Engineers Federation (AIREF).

There are about 60, 000 railway engineers employed with the Indian Railways, which is one of the most expansive railway networks in the world, who are disgruntled by their job title, status and advancement opportunities.

“We join as railway engineers and that’s what we remain with no promotion till our retirement. Even worse, we are not deemed at par with engineers in central government departments but at a lower rank – that of non-technical staff.

Our demand for time-bound promotions and parity with engineers in other central government departments is not a favor, but our right!” booms Saurabh Chowdhry from Jodhpur.


(Saurabh Chowdhry, Jodhpur )

“Our work is round-the-clock, yet we are excluded from HOER (hours of work & period of rest) classification,” pipes in another colleague, “How do you expect motivated commitment when you are not even recognizing our work?”

Since 1843, when the first train chugged out of Bombay on its 21-km run, the Indian Railways today runs over 20,000 passenger trains daily, across the length and breadth of the country. In the financial year March 2017-2018, over 8 billion passengers and over one billion tonnes of freight was transported.

The government plans to invest ₹9.05 trillion (US$130 billion) to upgrade IR by 2020, but it is its human resource not just physical infrastructure that needs to be nurtured.


(Rally for Rights)

The railway engineers don’t want rail accidents to be conveniently blamed on them either, states their press release. There are a worrying 100 rail accidents a year at an average mostly due to derailments, and then at level crossings.

The reasons for these need to be rigorously analyzed they claim.

They want their training institutes named ‘Railway Engineers’ Training Institutes’ not ‘Supervisors’ Training Institute’ like presently termed. All railway divisions or headquarters should also set-up and maintain state-of-art technical libraries for the use of the engineers. Additionally, provision of 4G smart mobile phones with CUG facilities for railway engineers will also support constantly upgrading work requirements.

“Recognise, respect and treat us like qualified technical staff to make the railways as glorious as it can actually be,” they say.