Mumbai’s local trains are the only source of transportation for lakhs of people in the city, on a day to day basis. It is one of the easiest and fast modes of transportation, though crowded, in Mumbai. However, on Tuesday, since 7 am, the city is observing a standstill in this popular mode of transit, around various stations, leaving a lot of commuters stranded and late.

All of this is happening due to the rail roko protest in Mumbai. More than 500 students were carrying out this rail roko protest on the central railway line. These students are working as apprentices in different technical workshops of Railway and they are demanding permanent jobs.

There has been no recruitment in the last four years,” one of the protesters told PTI. “We are running from pillar to post. Over 10 students have committed suicide. We cannot let such things happen.” Another student said they will continue their protests on the tracks until Railway Minister Piyush Goyal met them.

There’s another reason for the student to carry out this rail roko. The protesters who have passed the Railway act apprentice exam are demanding the removal of 20% upper limit in the hiring of candidates for Railway jobs. They want the entire quota to be filled by students who have passed the test.

In order to calm the protesters and scoot them away from the railway tracks, Railway security forces including the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) were first sent at the spot. And, they conducted lathi-charge on students to move them away from the tracks. Some were injured in the lathi-charge, as reported by The Indian Express.

Apart from this, a bunch of trains in the city has been rescheduled due to rail roko. And, the bus service in the city, BEST, had also started operating 68 additional buses to help out the stranded commuters. But it’s the indefinite strike by OLA and UBER (cab services) which is causing more complications in the entire equation.

After some time in the protest, Piyush Goyal put out a statement that he will meet the Mumbai Railway Apprentice Agitation to talk about all the causes they’re protesting for.

Since then, the students have called off the protest. ‘The students have agreed to discontinue the protests. As this is a matter that could be discussed and solved by the Railway Board, we have asked them to meet the concerned officials in the Board. No written assurance on any jobs promised by the Central Railway,’ S K Jain, Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division, Central Railway said. “Agitators have been advised that there will be an exclusive exam for them under 20% quota and they may apply up to 31st March. For anything else, they may represent their case to the concerned officers in Railway Board as the matter has All India policy implications,” he added.

Jyotsna Amla

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