News Railways

Sanitation workers of Berhampur railway station stage stir, demand dues- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

BERHAMPUR: Deprived of salaries since the last two months, outsourced sanitation workers of Berhampur railway station have resorted to ceasework by staging dharna in front of the station since December 20.

As many as 59 sanitary workers outsourced from a private agency in Bhubaneswar have been employed at the railway station since the last two years. However, none of them has reportedly been paid their salaries for the last two months.

“The agency pays around Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per month to each worker but we have not received salaries for the last two months. When we complained, the agency said since the railways had not released payments for the same, they cannot pay us,” alleged workers’ leaders Sunil Mishra, Jatin Bisoi and Alok Patra. The agitators claimed that working without salary made it difficult for them to run their daily expenses. 

“Since the agency did not pay heed to our appeal, we wrote a letter to the divisional railway manager (DRM), East Coast Railways, during the second week of this month informing them of our problem, further threatening to stage protest if our salaries were not paid by December 19. As no attention was given to our demands, we sat on dharna since December 20,” they added.

Around three health inspectors besides five sweepers are working under the direct control of DRM, Khurdha, to look after the sanitation system of the railway station. Admitting that funds have not been released to the agency for the last two months, sources at the DRM office said since the agency normally receives a good sum for its service, it is their lookout to pay the salaries of their workers.

In-charge office of the railways’ sanitary department M Gopal Krishna said, “The Khurda division has been apprised of the matter. As an alternative, we have engaged five of our regular staff for the upkeep of the railway station,” he said adding, alternate arrangements will be made by Tuesday if the oursourced workers refuse to comply.  

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