Tirupati: Move to monetise railway stations draws flak

Tirupati railway station

Tirupati railway station


All-India Railway Federation to observe September 9 as ‘warning day’ and to hold dharnas at all stations across the country SCR Employees

Tirupati: The monetisation move of the NDA government under which several railway stations and other assets were listed for privatisation in the next 2 to 3 years has been drawing flak from various sectors. The All-India Railway Federation has called for protests opposing the government's move on September 9 by observing it as a 'warning day' and to organise dharnas at every station across the country.

The standing committee of the Federation also decided to garner public support for their cause and decide the future course of action after September 9. Ever since the government announced its plan to mobilise Rs 6 lakh crore as part of monetisation by selling the assets in which 400 railway stations, 90 passenger trains and 1,400-km track among other things were listed, various railway unions have been making much hue and cry. They were arguing that the move will be detrimental not only to the interests of lakhs of employees but also to the general public.

The Tirupati railway station is one among the 400 stations to be monetised before 2024. During the normal days before Covid, the station used to get a footfall of around one lakh passengers every day. Once it goes into private hands, pilgrims will have to bear additional burden, they say.

Speaking to The Hans India, president of Guntakal division Railway Mazdoor Union K Sudarsan Raju said that the decision will lay a huge burden on common people as the private players will act with business motives to hike the prices of all services. Railways, which is the obvious choice for common people for their travels, will become a bane with the unbearable burden starting from the entry tickets into the station. Cloakrooms, retiring rooms, waiting halls etc., all will go into private hands for which the users will have to pay hefty user charges. Railways has been contributing lakhs of crores daily to the government and it is not proper to privatise it.

Unfortunately, the government itself has been pushing the railways into losses by leasing out 400 major stations and keeping smaller stations for itself.

Secretary of SCR Employees Sangh and CWC member KBK Raju also lamented the decision saying that despite their fight for the last 25 years against privatisation, the government has moved in that direction. Ever since pantry service was privatised, the demand has come down as no quality is being maintained, he added and demanded that the Centre withdraw its decision.

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