During peak hours of Tuesday morning, railway services on the Central line came to a halt and the reason behind it was the Rail-Roko observed by 200-300 apprentice students who were demanding permanent jobs. Students from places like Bhusaval, Punjab and MP were part of the Mumbai rail roko.
The agitation took place between Dadar and Matunga from 7 am onwards. This resulted in huge crowds getting accumulated on all the four tracks of the stations. Commuters stated that “Many taxi drivers outside the Sion and Matunga station turn their directions after discovering about the agitation and huge passenger rush.” With Ola and Uber on strike, and usual taxi drivers refusing to travel to South Mumbai, it became tough for commuters to reach their offices. To help the commuters, BEST decided to ply more buses from outside the Central Railway stations.
Railway Protection Force and Government Railway Police personnel who rushed to clear the site were welcomed with stones from the protestors and this, in turn, resulted in lathi charge. The police personnel cleared the tracks and the rail roko andolan in Mumbai came to a halt. Local train service of Central Railway has started but trains are still running a bit late.
A released issue by the Central Railway said that “As per the Apprentice Act, there is no provision of giving jobs to the apprentices. They are only given training for a specific period to improve their skills and experience of having worked in the field. However, Ministry of Railways took a decision and decided to reserve 20% of the seats filled through direct recruitment. The notification is already issued for submitting applications with a due date (31st March 2018). Apprentices can apply using this notification and a special exam will be held for the apprentices who are trained in Railway Workshops under Apprentice Act.”