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Students’ protests: Railway minister promises to look into matters

Today students have called a strike and have stopped the trains from running. The grievance was that they were denied railway jobs despite clearing the appropriate exams.

Let’s take a look at what happened so far:

1: 15 pm: Making a statement, CM Fadnavis said railways have increased the reservation for apprentices from 10% to 20%.
“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.

1: 01 pm: Indian Railways is currently in the midst of a massive recruitment drive to fill over 90,000 Group C and Group D posts and the minister urged them to apply for these jobs, the last date of which is March 31. This is the single largest recruitment ever undertaken by the railways in India.

12: 45 pm: One of the major demands of the agitating job aspirants, mostly comprising those who have passed the Railway Act Apprentice exam, is scrapping the 20 per cent upper limit for hiring. Addressing a hurriedly-called press conference, Goyal said the 20 per cent posts were reserved in keeping with the “various judgements pronounced by the Supreme Court from time to time and as per section 22(1) of the Apprentices Act”. This 20 per cent posts are reserved for ‘course completed act apprentices’ who were already engaged in railway establishment under the Apprenticeship Act.

12: 36 pm: In a series of Tweet, Goyal appealed people to apply for large number of jobs that have been offered by the ministry, for which the last date of application is 31st March, 2018.

12: 30 pm: Minister Piyush Goyal addressed the media in New Delhi.

12: 20 pm: In view of the agitation, the CR authorities swung into action and said a fresh round of exams to recruit the apprentices will be held soon.

12: 13 pm: The protesters, who have passed apprentice exam, are demanding full-time jobs in the Indian Railways and scrapping of the rail general manager’s quota (GM quota) of filling in 20% vacancies.

12: 08 pm: Chief PRO of the Central Railways Sunil Udasi, however, subsequently said the rail services on the affected section between Matunga and CSMT have resumed after the protesters were removed from the tracks.

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11: 59 am: Around 400 to 500 students from several states, who have done apprenticeship with the Indian Railways and want permanent jobs now, came out and sat on railway tracks at about 6.45 am today.

11: 53 am: The protest on the Central Railway by students created a lot of problems for passengers on the Central Railway but Western Railway saw no agitation so the commuters traveling between Churchgate and Virar faced no hassles.

11: 48 am: A railway apprentice was quoted as saying that the protestors have withdrawn the agitation as the railways have promised to give a reply within two days. The protestor said that the Railway gives training to people but then don’t hire them, which is not fair. The protestors have said that they will agitate further if the demands are not met.

11: 35 am: The protest that was erupted during peak hour, which affected the office-goers and students.

11: 30 am: Meanwhile, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has that further discussions will be held over government jobs. He further said that recruitment in Railways is underway at a large scale and on directives of Supreme Court, Indian Railways has made a recruitment policy that is unbiased and transparent.

11: 20 am: Meanwhile, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis said in State Assembly that no rules have been changed. He added by saying that 20% seats are reserved for apprentices but they are demanding more. Lathi-charge was done after agitators started pelting stones, but no one was injured, said Maharashtra CM.

11: 16 am: S K Jain further said that the students have been advised to apply for an exclusive exam that will be conducted for them under 20% quota. For this, the students can apply before 31st March. He also said that apart from this, students may represent their case to the concerned officers in Railway Board as the matter has All India policy implications, reported a leading news agency.

11: 10 am: S K Jain, the Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division, Central Railway was quoted as saying that the students have agreed to discontinue the protests, as this is a matter that could be discussed and solved by the Railway Board. He further said that they have asked the protestors to meet the concerned officials in the Board, reported IE. However, no written assurance on any jobs have been promised by the Central Railway, Jain said.

11: 05 am: Member of Parliament of Mumbai North-East, Kirit Somaiya, took to Twitter and said that he has spoken to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and said that he has assured a discussion with andolan karta. He further requested to the protestors to withdraw the RaiRoko protest and come for discussion.

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11: 00 am: Protestors have said that Railways has given them assurance of a discussion on the issue in two days.

10: 53 am: Students’ rail roko protests called off after Railway officials broker peace. But commuters had to face difficulties due to blocked rail traffic.

10: 50 am: The Central Railway announced that the train services have resumed on the official twitter account.

10: 45 am: Railway traffic resumes between Dadar and Matunga, while the agitating railway job aspirants are still present at the spot where they have been protesting, between Matunga & Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station. 

Watch Video:

10: 42 am: Railway traffic resumes between Matunga and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station.

10: 40 am: The Railway services will resume.

10: 37 am: Students have called off the protest. As per the reports, the protesters are getting a written reassurance from the railway.

10: 27 am: Chief PRO of Central Railway Sunil Udasi said that Mumbai police along with GRP and RPF jawans are having talks with the students

10: 22 am: As many as 50 trains may be delayed or cancelled as per the report. Meanwhile, the officials are working on the first priority to clear the track.

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10: 19 am: Students shouting slogans ‘rail-roko’ against railways held placards in their hands. More than 2000 students have taken Mumbai by storm.

10: 15 am: Agitated students blocked the rail track in the moring around 7 am, forcing railway to stop the suburban as well as express trains in the affected section between Matunga and CSMT. They are demanding jobs from government. Students are also seeking one time settlement from GM quota.

10: 10 am: Mumbai Police took to Twitter and informed the commuters about the halt in Railway services and said, due to agitation by Railway apprentices between Dadar and Matunga Rly Stations, the train services of Central Railways have been affected.

10: 05 am: The police have meanwhile reached the spot.

10: 00 am: Students blocked railway traffic demanding jobs in railways, due to which services between Matunga and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station were affected.


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