Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the Legislative Assembly that the railway administration has initiated talks with students who protested in Mumbai today demanding permanent jobs.
Lakhs of commuters had to face hardships during the peak office hours as hundreds of agitated students blocked rail traffic, including suburban services between the busy Matunga and Dadar stations, demanding jobs in the Indian Railways.
Nearly 500 students from several states, who have done apprenticeship with the Indian Railways and want permanent jobs, came out and sat on railway tracks at about 6.45 AM.
The protest was called off at around 10.35 AM, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters at a hurriedly-called press conference in New Delhi. Goyal has urged them to join the ongoing recruitment drive that ends on March 31.
Making a statement in the house, Fadnavis said railways have increased the reservation for apprentices from 10 per cent to 20 per cent.
“The youth are demanding 100 per cent reservation for apprentices in railway jobs. Railway administration has initiated talks with the protesters and a solution would be arrived at,” he said.
The issue was raised by Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil through a point of order before the Question Hour. He said the apprentices protested with a “chakka jaam” on Central Railway section for nearly four hours.
“Commuters had to face hardships because of disruption of railway services. But, we should consider the hardships of the youth as well. The railway administration was not forthcoming to talk to them and understand their demands. Instead, they were lathi-charged in which the youth were injured.
“Government should have shown some sensitivity by talking to the railway ministry and conveying their demands to the Centre. They were demanding jobs in railways, but railways have changed rules regarding recruitment of apprentices,” he claimed.