Pune: The All India Station Masters Association (AISMA) on Saturday went on a 24-hour hunger strike to express its displeasure over the railway administration not fulfilling its long pending demands.
In all, 370 station masters working under the Pune Railway Division also observed the day-long strike to fulfil their long-pending ‘valid demands’.
According to the Pune division unit of AISMA, the station masters continued to do their duties throughout the day but refused to consume food. Of the 370 station masters deputed at over 70 stations within the division, the Pune station alone has 40 station masters to manage passenger services as well as operations of trains.
“There was a time when the number of trains operating between Pune and Lonavla was 50 per day. Now, the number has gone up to over 150 to 160 daily. But the number of station masters, who are looking after this traffic, has remained the same. This has added considerable stress to the station masters,” said Amit Kumar Verma, Divisional Secretary, AISMA.
“A station manager is bound to work day and night at such stations, but the railway administration has been continuously ignoring our valid demands. We are forced to agitate for achieving our basic demands,” said Verma.
The association is demanding grant of Level 8 and 9 (grade pay Rs 4,800 and grade pay Rs 5,400) for station masters as per the Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP) norms, as consequent to upgrading recruitment level revised as L-6 (Rs 4,200 grade pay).
The organisation is also demanding a safety, stress allowance to station masters to compensate for health hazards they are exposed to due to strenuous nature of job. Another demand is to convert 15 per cent posts in station masters’ cadre to be into Group B (Gazetted) for better avenues. for getting promotions.
The association has also demanded that a second assistant station master be posted at all stations where traffic density is on higher side, that separate restrooms be provided for station managers among others and the New Pension Scheme be abolished.
“We used a Gandhian way to convey our feelings to the administration without affecting the work. All of us refused food from midnight for 24 hours,” said Verma.