TINSUKIA: Following the first COVID-19 casualty in NF Railway reported from Katihar division, the NFR Mazdoor Union (NFRMU) has slammed the Railway authority for its ‘step-motherly attitude’ towards its employees, notwithstanding persisting demand to provide adequate safety gadgets to the Railway employees engaged in maintaining essential services during lockdown period.
Arun Lohora (53), a senior technical employee in maintenance division at Siliguri Jn under Katihar division of NFR, expired at North Bengal Civil Hospital on Sunday after he was tested COVID positive. The Katihar division was prompt enough to issue advisories asking all employees in working hours or in Railway colony who came in contact with the deceased to go for quarantine.
Rakhal Das Gupta, general secretary of NFRMU, while expressing deep shock at the demise of Lohora, reiterated NFRMU’s demand to undertake sanitization in each and every railway colony, including roadside stations and training schools. Seeking urgent action, Das Gupta in a letter to GM NFR on Monday, urged him to ensure PPE for medical staff and to provide protective equipment like sanitizers, masks and gloves for the staff performing emergency duties. While expressing anguish over reported cases of police assault on Railway staff on duty like Saikat Mishra, Ujjal Debnath and Uttam Saikia in different divisions under NFR, Das Gupta demanded that proper action should be initiated against the culprits. He also demanded to arrange immediate payment of ex-gratia to the bereaved family of Arun Lohora.
Meanwhile, Pulak Gogoi, central organizational secretary of NFRMU, in a press communiqué stated that since the start of lockdown, the Railways transported 7,195 wagons of food materials, 64,567 wagons of coal, 3,314 and 3838 wagons of steel, petroleum products and medicines against all hazards of coronavirus pandemic, but the Railway authorities turned a blind eye towards the safety of the running staff. After persistent demand, though Railways did supply protective equipment, those were of inferior quality, Gogoi alleged.