The protest was called off when railway authorities brokered peace.
Around 400 to 500 students from several states, who have done an apprenticeship with the Indian Railways and demanding permanent jobs in railways, sat on the tracks at about 6.45 am on March 20. The agitation disrupted the rail traffic during peak morning hours. The protest caused difficulties to more than 4.5 million commuters, travelling through suburban services between Matunga and Dadar stations. Following the protest Central Railway was forced to stop suburban as well as express train services, an official said.
Agitation was finally withdrawn around 10.45 a.m. after the intervention of top Central Railway officials and the Railway Ministry with a written assurance to the protestors. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also issued a statement on the rail roko protest, and said that 20 percent of the posts in railways were already reserved for apprentices.
The job aspirants demanded to scrap the GM quota. “We want full-time absorption of the successful students in the railways, and scrapping of the GM quota. There has been no recruitment for the last four years. About 10 to 15 students have committed suicide,” one of the protester said.
In view of the agitation, the authorities reveal that a fresh round of exams for recruitment of apprentices will be held soon.
“We have already reserved 20 percent posts for ‘Course Completed Act Apprentices’, who were engaged in railway establishments under the Apprenticeship Act. This has been done as per Section 22(1) of the Apprentices Act and the various judgments pronounced by the Supreme Court from time to time. Applicants who completed the apprenticeship course have also been given an age relaxation equal to the period of apprenticeship,” Railway minister said in his statement.