Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Porters of Dhanbad station appeal to railways for help

'When special trains were running, many passengers didn't allow us to touch their luggage'

Our Correspondent Dhanbad Published 11.08.20, 06:34 PM
Porters at Dhanbad railway station on Tuesday.

Porters at Dhanbad railway station on Tuesday. Gautam Dey

Over 100 registered porters of Dhanbad Railway station are facing a tough time ever since train services were suspended following the announcement of a pan-India lockdown in March.

Gorelal Yadav (45), a native of Jehanabad district of Bihar, who has been working as a coolie at Dhanbad station since the last 20 years, said, “With almost zero income for the first two and-a- half months of the lockdown, and nominal income after the resumption of some special trains in June, we are barely to support our families. I have to take care of my wife and three chidren. We have already lost all our savings. Somehow, we are managing with PDS foodgrains.”


Yadav said with barely any income, they were unable to buy essentials liek dal, vegetables and cooking oil. "We can't afford the tuition fees of our children, besides our house rent," he added.

“Due to the Covid crisis, many passengers arriving on special trains do not let us touch their luggage," he added.

Before the lockdown, Dhanbad station would see a daily footfall of over 20,000 passengers.

Echoing similar sentiments, Ranjit Kumar, another coolie working in Dhanbad for the last nine years, said, “With an income of Rs 9,000 per month, I have been somehow managing and taking care of my family of four. But the post-lockdown period had brought the biggest misery upon us as even the railway ministry is not helping us."

Basant Paswan, (35), another coolie, pointed out that both Gorelal Yadav and Ranjit were better off as they had BPL cards. "But my position is even worse as despite applying for a BPL card several times, I didn’t get one. Thus, I am now dependent on the foodgrains distributed by some social workers."

Divisional railway manager of Dhanbad A.K. Mishra could not be contacted for a comment.

However, senior divisional commercial manager of Dhanbad Akhilesh Kumar Pandey said "there is no guideline regarding compensation or nor do we have a provision to engage them elsewhere but we are mulling options at the personal level to help them", adding that the porters had been given the option of working as sanitation workers with railway contractors .

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