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Mumbai rail-blockade ends as Piyush Goyal assures agitating job-seekers

SNS | New Delhi |

Timely intervention by Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has ended the rail-blockade by protesting job-seekers in Mumbai that had virtually paralysed Central Railway (CR) suburban train service since early Tuesday.

“Agitators have called off their protest and further discussions will be held,” Goyal said.

The minister said recruitment in Railways is underway on a large scale.

“On directives of Supreme Court, Indian Railways has made a recruitment policy that is unbiased and transparent,” Goyal said further.

The protests began early morning as hundreds of job-seekers agitating over issues pertaining to railway recruitment blocked railway tracks leading to police caning and retaliatory stone-throwing.

For nearly three hours, the services were severely disrupted as the protestors squatted and laid on the railway tracks between Matunga and Dadar on the CR.

The agitation led to a cascading effect even on the Western Railway with all trains running packed to capacity, the roads linking Mumbai with the mainland and the two highways slicing through the country’s commercial capital.

More than 4.5 million commuters were badly hit for the second consecutive day following a strike called on Monday by drivers of cab aggregators and app-based taxis that disrupted in Mumbaikars’ schedules.

Attempting to restore normalcy, the local police resorted to a mild lathi-charge to disperse the protestors. Some retaliated by pelting stones at the police.

At least five persons and a couple of police personnel were injured in the fracas even as top police and railway officials rushed to the site to control the situation.

The protests were carried out by activists of the All India Act Apprentice Association (AAAAA). It demanded scrapping of the 20 per cent quota for direct recruitment and jobs for local candidates in all states who have cleared the All India Railway Act Apprentice Exams.