Indian Railways' Discriminatory attitude towards Assam
A time was there when the number of employees from the north-eastern region in the Indian Railways was like a tip of the iceberg. With the passage of time, things turn for a better slightly during the Congress regime. In fact, in our childhood, seeing the employees from Bihar, UP and West-Bengal, we were under the impression that no Assamese is competent enough to get a job even in the lower category (Group C and D) in the Railways. As we grew up, we could understand that the Railway ministers of the successive regimes ensured that maximum number of appointments should be from their own constituencies to strengthen their vote banks. All norms for recruitment were thrashed under their feet. Because of a comparatively lower population our boys and girls seeking jobs in Railways could do precious little.
Braving all odds and bereft of any political patronage a handful of Assamese candidates could crack the written tests and got jobs. On a number of occasions, we could notice candidates from outside the State joining in Assam. The matter worsened with the NDA coming to power at the Centre with no hindrance from any quarter. The Union government led by Narendra Modi diplomatically worked out novel means to deprive our candidates. In the recently announced Group D posts, the Railways sought applications from candidates online, minimizing chances of our candidates getting employment. A report in the print media suggests that it is in total contravention of the provision - 16(4), 46 and 335 of the Constitution. It is also reported that a good number of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Hindus, who acquired SC and ST certificates in dubious ways, have been working in the Railways and many more are set to join. But in Assam one cannot acquire SC and ST certificate easily. The discrimination meted out to our candidates of SC, ST and others prompted the SC, ST employees to raise the issue seriously holding a series of meetings with higher-ups of the Railways in New Delhi. What is more, they now propose to knock the door of the High Court seeking justice to the candidates of Assam. Alas! We don't have Hem Baruah, no Dinesh Goswami, no PA Sangma to fight for us in Parliament. We have now a few sycophants, worthless MPs and a Minister of State for Railways who cannot fight out the issue. The latter does more harm to Assam by his irresponsible comments than doing anything good.
The ongoing FIFA World Cup soccer being played in Russia has produced many upsets. The South Korea's triumph against defending champion Germany in the group stages was probably the biggest shock of the event. Secondly Japanese team entering Round of 16 stage is another landmark. The way they played against the mighty Belgium before going down augurs well for Asian soccer. Lastly Iran held Christiano Ronaldo-led Portugal team to one apiece draw is remarkable. Indians followed the Soccer extravaganza even though the country with the second largest population couldn't prepare a team to compete in the championship. The infrastructure in India is still not up to mark though AIFF and the government are working hard to make India a powerhouse in Asia. The performance of Japan and South Korea in the current edition of the World Cup is an indication of their emergence as soccer powerhouse of the world.
Dr Ashim Chowdhury,