Here to serve railways not seniors, we are not bonded labourers, staff tells Piyush Goyal

In a letter dated July 13, 2018, Kumar wrote to Goyal that his senior had employed him and his colleagues to build his private house at Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh.

Here to serve railways not seniors, we are not bonded labourers, staff tells Piyush Goyal

New Delhi: A trackman from the Northern Railway's Lucknow division on Tuesday appealed to Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and said that he and his five colleagues will not build a house for their seniors, they will only work for the railways. According to trackman Dharmendra Kumar, the senior Railway officials treat them as 'bonded labourers'.

Soon after taking over in September last year, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had instructed officials to not use their juniors for menial jobs and said strict action will be taken against those who continue to do so. 

Following the order, nearly 10,000 Group-D railway employees, including gangmen and trackmen, were removed from the houses of seniors and put back into safety and maintenance work.

In a letter dated July 13, 2018, Group-D railway employee Kumar wrote to Goyal that his senior - section engineer Rajkumar Verma - had employed him and five other trackmen to build his private house, around 500 metres from the district railway headquarters in Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh.

"They treat grade 4 employees like bonded labourers. We have joined the railways to do our job, not to service our seniors. He has put these men who should be looking after the safety of tracks to do construction work at his home for the past month. When I refused, he threatened to suspend me. 

"I have informed senior officials of this and no one has responded so far," Kumar told PTI.

Kumar further said that he even captured a video of railway employees working at the construction site. The video is part of the complaint he sent to the Railway minister.

"I am being threatened but I won't budge. How can I help him construct his house when so many derailments are happening in this country? I want the minister to take strict action and ensure that workers like us are not treated this way," said Kumar.

He alleged that he has been marked 'absent' at work since refusing to work for Verma.

Repeated calls to Verma's phone remained unanswered.

"An enquiry has been ordered by the Divisional Railway Manager and is to be conducted by a senior officer of the Lucknow division. Strict action will be taken against anyone found indulging in malpractice," said Northern Railway spokesperson Nitin Chowdhury.

(With inputs from PTI)