One of the largest employers in India is the Indian Railways. With the vast number of employees working for it, are their interests being looked after?
The Northern Railway has suspended some officials in the wake of allegations that they had employed trackmen as domestic helps in their residences.
Reacting to the report, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani said that the railways were fully committed to ensuring that its machinery was not misused.
“We are fully committed in our efforts to see to it that our official machinery or our staff services are not misused,” Lohani said while interacting with officers and media persons at a railway awards function in Bhopal.
Taking cognizance of a report telecast by a television channel, General Manager of Northern Railway Vishwesh Chaube immediately directed that the officers concerned be placed under suspension forthwith.
“Northern Railway has placed under suspension all the officials who have been found to be allegedly misusing the services of the railwaymen appointed for maintenance work of tracks and other assets at their homes/private establishments,” said Chaube.
Further disciplinary action on the suspended officials would be taken swiftly as per the available documents and evidence, he said.
A TV channel showed how the men who were supposed to be engaged in safety work on the tracks were doing menial jobs at the homes of senior officials, including cleaning, washing and even building fences at railway engineers and section officers’ homes.
Soon after taking over, both Ministers of Railways Piyush Goyal, as well as Lohani, had ordered around 30,000 staff used as domestic help back to work.
The private TV channel named officials from across railway zones, but it was only Northern Railway which responded to it and took action.
In the story, the trackmen are heard saying that they mark attendance and then come and work at the official residences of their seniors.
The news comes on a day that the national transporter is celebrating 165 years of existence.
Goyal and the entire Railway Board are currently in Bhopal for the 63rd Railway Week National Awards Function.
Sources in the ministry say that action would be taken across zones after the erring officers are identified.