Station Masters strike, demand amendment in 6th pay commission
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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 22:21
New Delhi: The lone figure clad in white waving a red or green flag is a familiar sight at many railway stations, but today around 3,000 station masters waved a different flag, demanding the respect they deserve.

Station masters under the banner of All India Station Masters Association (AISMA) today began their 48-hour-long hunger strike demanding more consideration in the 6th Pay Commission, including better pay package.

"We had no issues with the 5th Pay Commission but in the 6th Pay Commission we have been equated with a railway sweeper in terms of incentives. It is to demand a hike in our pay package that we are carrying out this hunger strike," said Secretary General of AISMA U John Vincent Kumar.

The station masters have demanded an entry level scale of Rs 9,300-34,800 with grade pay of Rs 4,200.

Although their demands were met by the Railway Ministry, Vincent complained about the "lackadaisical approach" adopted by the Finance Ministry.

"Our demands have been met by the higher authorities in the Railways Ministry. However, our request has been pending for the past two months in the Finance Ministry. Every time we approach them they cite procedural problems as the hindrance and give us an indefinite time period," he said.

In addition to a hike in pay, the station masters have also demanded a 30 per cent safety allowance, appointment of additional station masters at all stations and a centralised headquarters.

"Sometimes we are posted in far-flung areas in the country, bereft of even the most basic amenities. We are unable to send our children to good schools. We've been asking for a centralised headquarters for the past decade but no one is doing anything about it," said Shanmugan Kartha, the station master at Nagercoil station.

Station masters also complained of being overburdened with too many duties and thus being unable to focus on any particular duty.

"What exactly do officials want us to focus on? On the one hand we have to ensure safety measures and on the other hand we also have to keep an eye on the administration," said Gokul Varma, station master at Palakkad station.

In addition to the hunger strike, the station masters also took out a protest march from Jantar Mantar to New Delhi Railway Station in support of their demands.


First Published: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 22:21

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