Train services are likely to be hit in the month of July as the Indian Railways drivers from the state and different parts of the country have resolved to go on a 48-hour hunger strike on 15 and 16 July and stop work from 17
July, to protest against several issues pertaining to irregularities in payment and resting time.

The clarion call by the loco drivers under the canopy of All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA), comes after a mass protest held in the month of February by thousands of members at Jantar Mantar in Delhi. A large number of these drivers held several meetings in Kolkata and also participated in the mass protest in Delhi.

Sankar Ghoshe, an official of Eastern Railway in Sealdah, alleged that since the formula for the computation of rate of km allowance contains 30 per cent pay and travel allowance(TA), the Railways has no right to reduce the pay or discriminate any employee from the legitimate applicable TA. Also, the railway administration under the illegal policy adoption is trying to curtail the basic pay
which is reflected through kilometre allowance that the members are entitled to get since 1981, alleged Mr Ghoshe.

He rued that the members had tried several democratic tools including dharna, demonstration, black badges, a 36-hour hungerstrike and a 48-hour hungerstrike but to no avail. “Proceedings to National Industrial Tribunal were taken by the association in the past to draw the attention of Railway
Administration on the subject but till date, railway administration could not resolve their grievances. Hence AILRSA has taken the decision that we don’t have option other than calling a strike,” claimed Mr Ghoshe.

The secretary general of AILRSA also wrote to the chairman of the railway board last week informing him of the hungerstrike and stoppage of work. In his letter, the secretary has alleged that the “irresponsible behaviour” of the railway administration had compelled the members to go on strike.