Railways Stops Recruitment Drive After Job Aspirants Burn Coaches In UP, Bihar

Vaishnaw asked protestors to file their complaints formally by February 16.

The Ministry of Railways has suspended its recruitment drives in Bihar after ongoing violent protests.

Dedicated Committee Established

For the third day protests in the state took a violent turn with four empty coaches of a stationary train set ablaze in Gaya.

In response, the Railways set up a high-level committee headed by Deepak Peter Gabriel, principal executive director of industrial relations in the ministry.

The committee will reach out and engage with the protestors.

Lifetime Ban From Railway Recruitment

Just a day before, the Railways warned protestors that job aspirants found involved in vandalism and “unlawful activities” would be subject to police actions and a lifetime ban from a Railway job.

Punishable acts include protesting on railway tracks, disruption of train operations, damaging railway properties, etc.

The protests are centred around the recruitment drive for Non Technical Popular Categories (NTPC) comprising 35,281 vacant posts with starting pay ranging from Rs 19,900 to Rs 35,400 per month.

Recruitment Process

The vacancies range from junior clerk, train assistant, guard, time-keeper to station master.

The Railways had received about 1.25 crore applications for 3,528 vacancies, of which 7,05,446 candidates were shortlisted.

It had said that the number of shortlisted candidates would be 20 times the number of vacant posts.

This means that while over 7 lakh applications were shortlisted, the true number of candidates is around 3.84 lakh since one individual may have been shortlisted for more than one post.

Why The Protests Started

This is where the protests come in. 

The protestors say that those with higher qualifications get a shot at cracking jobs meant for those with lower qualifications.

The protesters are reported to be mainly candidates who could not qualify.

Their main concern is the Railways’ decision to hold the exams in two stages.

Deprived Of Opportunities

They claim that the second stage for final selection is “cheating” those who appeared and cleared the first stage of the RRB-NTPC computer-based test.

They say that candidates with higher qualifications get a chance at jobs meant for those with lower qualifications and thereby spoil their chances. 

A notice from the Railway Ministry said that the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) conduct a fair and transparent recruitment process while maintaining the highest standards of integrity.

They advised protestors to not be misguided or be influenced by those trying to use them for their own selfish ends.

Timeline For Complaint Submission And Addressal

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw asked protestors to file their complaints formally by February 16.

The dedicated committee will address them and submit recommendations by March 4.

Some of the grievances that may be looked into include those of the cut-offs being too high. 

Also to be examined is the issue surrounding results of the 1st Stage Computer Based Tests (CBT) and methodology used for shortlisting candidates for 2nd Stage CBT.

Individual Railway Recruitment Boards will form groups comprising protesting candidates and those who qualified.

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