Station masters on dharna today; strike planned from Nov 2 if demands not met

Over 500 station masters from Central, Western and West Central railways plan to hold a dharna at 11 am today in front of the Central Railway General Manager's office at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) to press for their demands. They have warned of a strike from November 2 if demands are not met.

A dharna will be held at other places as well, in 16 zones across India. "We are going to hold a dharna in front of the GM's office to meet General Manager Kulbhushan with our demands," said Raj Kumar Sonar, division secretary, Pune Division, Central Railway. "We have many employees in Southern Railway and South Western who were victimised and punished during our strike in 1997, and we demand justice for our colleagues. We also demand that our basic grade pay should go up to Rs 4,600 to Rs 2,800."

Sonar said they also wanted 30 per cent safety allowance as well as uniform allowance and roster. "We have held two meetings with the Railway Board, Delhi, regarding our demands and we have given them a deadline of November 2. If our demands are not met, we will go on strike and stop each and every signal for two minutes across India," said Sonar. "Each station has four signals and this will delay the journey by another four hours."

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