NFIR – Payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance to the important safety categories —inclusion of fresh categories within the ambit of Risk and Hardship Allowance
National Federation of Indian Railwaymen
3, CHELMSFORD ROAD, NEW DELHI – 110 055
Affiliated to :
Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC)
International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)
No.IV/NFIR/7th CPC (Imp)/Allowance 2016/Part II
The Convener of EDs Committee &
Pragati Maidan, Metro Bhavan,
Sub: Payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance to the important safety categories —inclusion of fresh categories within the ambit of Risk and Hardship Allowance – NFIR’ s proposals-reg.
Ref: (i) Railway Board’s Order vide letter No. ERB-I/2019/23/09 dated 11/02/2019 and 20/02/2019.
(ii) Railway Board’s letter No. PC-VIU2019/U7/5/1 dated 26/03/2019 addressed to G S/NFIR.
Pursuant to the demands raised by NFIR seeking payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance to various important safety and other categories of staff raised through its communications and as well through PNM Agenda Items, the Railway Board vide letters dated 11/02/2019 & 20/02/2019 constituted a Committee of EDs and the representatives of the Federations (NFIR & AIRF) for recommending inclusion of fresh categories within the ambit of Risk and Hardship Allowance. Following terms of reference have been laid down for the Committee:-
“To holistically examine the inclusion of fresh categories within the ambit of Risk and Hardship Allowance introduced by 7th CPC”.
In this connection, NFIR places following proposals, Department-wise for consideration by the Committee:-
1. CIVIL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT:
In the Civil Engineering Department, the technical staff mainly belong to P.Way, Track Machine and Bridge wings. Due to the nature of duties being performed by them involving risk to their lives besides hardships in their field working, they need to be covered under Risk & Hardship Allowance, justification for the same given below:-
(a) P. Way Staff: All P. Way Staff (SSE and down the line) are directly responsible for maintenance of Railway Tracks to ensure safe running of Trains service. These staff invariably work on the Railway Tracks for performing various incidental and maintenance activities, including alterations in the existing Railway Tracks or laying down new tracks. Their jobs also involve working in emergency situations in the wake of floods, torrential rains, conducting foot plate inspections day and night. They also undertake various coordinated works with the allied Departments viz., Electrical (Maintenance/OHE), S&T, Operating etc., for ensuring upkeep of safety of the Tracks. The hard working conditions, health hazards, remoteness, heavy workload of these categories and consequential increased stress/strain levels justify payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance. Similarly, the Track Machine Staff who have also been working on Railway Tracks for laying down/maintenance through machines have been facing similar arduous conditions while working under the Open Sky, away from families and moving along with machines to faraway places for track maintenance work should also be paid Risk and Hardship Allowance. NFIR lists below the categories to be brought within the ambit of Risk and Hardship Allowance.
➢ JEs/SSEs (P.Way)
➢ Technician (Blacksmith, Welder), P. Way Carpenter,
➢ Helper (Blacksmith, Welder)
➢ Safety Counselor (P. Way)
TRACK MAINTAINER (CONSTRUCTION ORGANIZATION) AND USFD
The Railway Board vide letter dated 25/10/2018 issued a clarification to the Zonal Railways that Risk and Hardship Allowance is not payable to the Track Maintainers working in Construction and USFD Organization. The Board’s decision was dis)puted by the Federation vide its letter dated 18/02/2019 wherein Federation maintained that the Risk and Hardship Allowance to the Track Maintainers cannot be denied on the ground that they are working in Constructions Organization and USFD Wing of Engineering Department as the same has been allowed by the 7th CPC to the category of Track Maintainer. Federation also contended that duties of Track Maintainers do not undergo wider change in the Construction or in USFD Organization as their basic nature of job remains the same i.e. working on Railway Tracks.
Consequently, Railway Board vide letter dated 14/03/2019 relplied to the General Secretary, NFIR that it may perhaps be prudent that any and all issues regarding inclusion of fresh category or review of eligibility or the amount of R&H Allowance to any category may be raised only before the aforementioned Committee meant especially for this purpose and consisting of representatives of both the Federations.
Therefore the Track Maintainers working in the Construction and USFD Organization deserve to be covered under Risk and Hardship Matrix for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance.
TRACK MACHINE ORGANIZATION
➢ JEs/SSEs (Track Machine)
➢ Technicians (Track Machine incl. Workshop)
➢ Helper (Track Machine incl. Workshop)
➢ Staff of USFD Organization
The above categories can be considered for grant of Risk and Hardship Allowance under R3H2 vide Para 8.10.75 of the 7th CPC Report.
(b) Bridge Staff including Bridge Workshop Staff: The field staff of Bridge Department and those working in the Bridge Workshops have been facing hard conditions while performing their day to day duties. These staff have been living in temporary tents away from their families for months together and working at remote places, jungle areas where there is no human habitation, minimum necessities of life. The Bridge Staff have to work under the Open Sky at an altitude of over 300 feet in construction and maintenance of Bridges on the Railway Tracks. The Bridge Staff do not have access to proper medical aid in case of emergency/sickness as they are away from Health Units/Doctors in the course of working. The. Bridge staff and those working in Bridge Workshops are required to be covered for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance under Risk and Hardship Matrix (R3H2) (Para 8.10.75 of the 7th CPC Report). List of the categories of Bridge Organization is as under:-
➢ JEs/SSEs (Bridges)
➢ Technician (Bridges — Sarang, Riveter, Welder, Blacksmith, Grinder, Fitter, Mopla Helper, Machinist, Turner, Driller incl. Workshop )
➢ Helper (Bridge Technician)
Federation also desires to bring to the notice of the Committee that with irregular meal timings, outside food, unhygienic environment, trekking for longer distances on the tracks and on uneven grounds, etc., the above staff of above categories suffer from serious health disorders, leading to various health problems.
(c) Staff of SSE (Works) attending drainage: The staff working under SSE (Works) and attending to the duties of Drainage cleaning at Railway Stations, Railway Offices, Railway colonies etc., face risk to their lives in the course of performing their duties. They also face various health hazards which some time lead to serious ailments and even deaths. The jobs of these staff is risk prone, therefore, they should be brought under the purview of Risk and Hardship Matrix for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance.
Federation therefore recommends that these staff should also be covered under Risk and Hardship Matrix (R3H2) vide Para 8.10.75 of the 7th CPC report and paid Risk and Hardship Allowance accordingly
2. OPERATING DEPARTMENT:
(a) Station Master and other Operating Staff:
Out of the 7000 Railway Stations around 400 are in Al and A Class Stations. Rest all Stations are inconvenient road side stations where even pure drinking water is a luxury. Station Masters perform their duty during day and night at such godforsaken areas where medical, educational or market facilities are unavailable. At some stations a proper approach road also is not available. The factors explaining risk and hardships associated with the duties of SMs are placed below to justify the demand for keeping this category in R2H2 of Risk and Hardship Matrix:-
• There are frequent incidents these days that public agitations take place due to abnormal running of trains or unsatisfactory service to customers where station masters and operating staff made scapegoats.
• In jungle/remote areas there is always risk of wild animals, snakes etc., where Station Master, Pointsmen etc., are performing night duties, are normally the victims.
• Due to failure of points particularly during night time, the Station Masters have to inspect the place of failure along with other staff which is highly risky during night time and more particularly during inclement weather. Equally Pointsmen, Shunting Jamedars/Shunting Masters, TNCs, Traffic Gate Keepers perform duties under advance weather conditions at station in Yards etc. Their nature of job is risky and arduous.
• At stations where there is cash handling due to various commercial activities of coaching and goods, the collected cash is kept with the Station Masters, till it is deposited in the bank.
• At stations where shunting operations are carried out by Station Master and operating staff, there have been cases of run over. Recent case of one Station Master of TPJ Division of Southern Railways is cited as an example.
• Large number of stations located in remote/jungle areas where no civil amenities like market medical, educational or other facilities are not available.
• The Station Masters/Operating staff have to face heavy stress particularly in sections where non-interlocked working exists. At these stations the memory and mind of the Station Master works to ensure safety of Trains and public.
• The Station Masters and Operating Staff particularly those working at way side stations/jungle areas face adverse climatic conditions during the course of performing their duties.
• The heavy sound at the level of 95 DB of high velocity/speed trains leads to deafness in the longer run of life. The heavy noise also causes increased stress level and is also a factor for increase in the BP of the incumbents.
• Continuous night duties performed by Operating Staff are also the reasons for causing sleep deficit besides obesity, hypertension, diabetes due to defective lifestyle. There have been a number of cases of medical incapacitate and death of staff in harness.
Station Masters are required to maintain a continuous watch on the panel indicators with reference to movements given and any unintended train movements. The greatest risk and hardship for the Station Masters had been briefed by Justice Shankar Saran in the year 1961 who observed that the train passing is in itself a duty of grave responsibility and heavy mental strain, so much so that a slight mistake may cause disastrous consequences, involving loss of thousands of lives and property worth lakhs of rupees in a moment and might lead the poor SM to jail.
Federation contends that there is sufficient justification for grant of Risk and Hardship Allowance to the Station Masters in Railways under Cell R2H2.
(b) Shunting Jamedars/Shunting Masters, Pointsmen/Assistant Pointsmen/Gate Keepers (Traffic), Traffic Assistants:
The jobs performed by Shunting Jamedars/Shunting Masters, Pointsman/Assistant Pointsman/Gate Keepers (Traffic), Stations etc.,) are also risky as theSe staff are prone to accidents and health hazards while. performing duties. These categories have however not been covered for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance under the Risk and Hardship Matrix (Cell R3H2) due to the reason that the 7th CPC had failed to give weightage to the nature of duties and responsibilities being performed by these staff. The Railway Board also has unfortunately not taken initiative to highlight the Risk and Hardship conditions faced by Railway. Staff of various safety categories before the Committee on Allowances headed by the Finance Secretary, Government of India.
Federation therefore requests the Railway Board to include above categories of staff of Operating Department for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance under Risk and Hardship Matrix (Cell R3H2).
3. ELECTRICAL DEPARTMENT: In the Electrical Department, the technical staff perform duties in TRD, TRS, AC, Train Lighting, General and in the Electrical Depots on Indian Railways. Following categories of staff of Electrical Department who perform duties on Railway Track/in Train and in Workshops who are prone to risk to their lives:-
> JEs/SSEs (TRD)
> All Technicians (TRD)
> All Helpers in TRD
> JEs/SSEs (TRS)
> All Technician in TRS
> All Helpers in TRS
> JEs/SSEs in Electrical Workshops
> Technicians in Electrical Workshops
> All Helpers in Electrical Workshops
> JEs/SSEs (Elect)/Power OL
> All Technicians (Elect)/Power OL
> All Helpers (Elect)/Power OL
> Tower Wagon Driver
> Loco Inspector, Electric Traction Controllers
> Technician (Fitter) AC Shed
> Technician (Fitter) TL/AC
> Technician (Sub-station operator for Genl. services incl. power houses)
> Technician (Auto Driver, Forklift Driver, Crane Driver, Traverser Driver, Slingers, Gunners)
Duties performed by above staff are such, having bearing on the safety of Travelling public, and direct linkage to the safe working of Trains may be on Tracks, Bridges, over head equipments, steep gradients, under inclement weather conditions at the cost of their physical and mental health. The duties result irregular/untimely meal timings, outside food, unhygienic environment, trekking for longer distances, leading to serious health complications. In addition, the staff working in mid-sections do not have sufficient infrastructure like building./structure/hut/tool room. These staff are compelled to be exposed to the hot sun, torrential rains, extreme cold weather.
Federation therefore recommends that the above categories be considered for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance (Cell R2 H1).
4. MECHANICAL DEPARTMENT: The staff of the categories listed below of Mechanical Department deserve to be considered for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance:
➢ JEs/SSEs (C&W)
➢ All Technicians in C&W
➢ All Helpers in C&W
➢ ‘Safety Counselor
➢ JEs/SSEs (Loco)
➢ All Technicians in C&W Loco, Car body Fitter & Cell Fitter/Battery Fitter
➢ All Helpers in C&W Loco
➢ JEs/SSEs (Mech in Workshops — Asst. Shop Supdt/Shop Supdt.)
➢ All Technicians in Workshops
➢ All Helpers in Workshops
➢ Lab Supdt
➢ Chemical & Met. Asst
➢ Lab Supdt. (CMA)
➢ Technician (Fitter- DSL sheds, C&W, Mill Wright, Welder)
➢ Technician (Auto Driver, Forklift Driver, Crane Driver & EOT Crane Driver Traverser Driver, Slingers, Gunners)
Like other safety category staff, the above mentioned categories staff of Mechanical Department are also required to perform on Tracks, in Locos, Coaches Freight Wagons, in Yards, stations etc., to ensure safe and efficient running of Train services. The staff of above categories are also involved in conducting PoH of Engines/Coaches/Freight Wagons all types of rolling stock compelling them to work beyond statutory hours due to non-implementation of yard sticks. Duties and responsibilities of above staff are also hard and risky. These staff therefore deserve to be compensated with the grant of Risk and Hardship Allowance recommended by the 7th CPC vide Cell R2 H2, if not more.
5. S&T DEPARTMENT: In the S&T Department the following categories of staff have not been considered for grant of Risk and Hardship Allowance despite the fact that they deserve to be covered under the Risk and Hardship Matrix:
➢ JEs/SSEs (Signal)
➢ All Signal Maintainers (ESMs)
➢ Safety Counselor
➢ JEs/SSEs (Telecom)
➢ All Telecom Maintainers (TCMs)
➢ All Wireless Telecom Maintainers (WTMs)
➢ All Helpers
All Ancillary Staff
(a) Signal Wing:
The JEs/SSEs (Signal) are required to conduct frequent field inspections (day or night) to ensure efficient functioning of equipments and attend failures even beyond duty hours. Testing, Overhauling and carrying out alterations to locking including periodical cable meggering, replacement of appliances etc. Their duties also involve to carry out these works in any emergent situation arising out of accident, floods, breaches etc. All the Signalling Staff normally walk atleast a distance of not less than 2 Kms from station to distant signals and even upto 10 Kms in the block section within the permissible signal limits or the signal installations for proper upkeep and maintenance of signalling gadgets to keep them in good fettle. The Telecom staff also play similar role. These staff cannot avail National Holidays and on many occasions they have to skip even normal holidays and forego rest and they on most of the occasions also forego their family life. The signal maintainers work in tandem with the JEs and SSEs making complete team for efficient functioning of the signaling systems to ensure safe and efficient running of Train services. They always work on Railway Tracks where they are prone to risk to their lives. There have been many occasions where the signal staff have been run over on duty. All these staff are therefore needed to be covered under Risk and Hardship Allowance atleast in Cell R2 H2.
Increased work load:
- Though there is yard stick for allocation / maintenance / Inspection of signaling gadgets, no yard stick is maintained and made applicable. The sanctions are not reviewed applying such yard stick norms and the employees in the category are overburdened with the prevalent workload.
- Creation of new assets without creation of posts have overburdened with the amount of work load.
The employees are thus prone to severe stress and strain.
(b) Telecom Wing:
The nature of duties of Telecom wing in Railways is on par with the signaling wing viz both JE/SSE & Technicians except that the Telecom Supervisors need not carry foot plate inspection, joint inspections except on certain occasions as necessitated.
The telecom staff have to trek along the entire section on foot like P Way staff. It is mandatory that the staff have to upkeep the Emergency Communication fixed on a post at every 1 km on the fortnightly basis, facilitating the on board staff to have an access with the section controller in case of exigencies.
Besides maintaining the defined telecom assets of a station like Railway communication to offices, staff quarters, PSUs under Ministry of Railways, etc. they also maintain the authorized means of communication within the mid section/station/section through telephones.
The complexity lies in maintenance of various types of cables viz. Microwave/radio communication, quad cables, OFC cables etc. Each means of communication needs a separate type to gadget for synchronization/compatibility. Usage of MUXs/De-MUXs to translate the information carried/received by different cables and transmitting/derivation to function the gadget is laborious that eats ones physical cum mental strength.
- Has to expose to all sorts of climatic conditions viz Hot Sun, Rain, Cold/mist and foggy Weather, dusty areas etc in the course of performance of job.
- Premises especially at major terminus/Jn stations, the situation is pathetic since the human/other waste is scattered on the installations/premises.
- The unhygienic problem is more severe especially where slum dwellers are residing nearer to the stations/Yards.
- Most disastrous is, attending to the installations for Inspection, maintenance, failures in the mid sections mostly remote areas having no human life in vicinity and conveyance,
- A few sections falling in the forest reserves and forced to commute to & fro only along tracks.
- Be vigilant and protect the staff and themselves while working on/in between tracks, always looking out for Trains on either side.Additional responsibilities due to Technological changes:
- Govt. of India for various reasons has been emphasizing and assigning top priority in improvising passenger amenities. Railways is forced to induct world class means of communication to attract and exploit the means of communication to extending all sorts of comforts to the travelling public on par with The private communication in vogue. Services like NTSE (Real time train monitoring system both passenger as well goods), access to various amenities at stations at finger tip, displaying various indications (TIB, CIB, etc.), PRS/ATVMs, video surveillance systems, UTS, etc. To meet the administrative requirements modern telephone exchanges with multifarious features like video calling, VOIPs, etc. are maintained by the staff without proper training.
✓ The staff while discharging their duties as enlisted above, encounter numerous risks either ways i.e. to travelling public as well threat to self besides facing severe hardships. They henceforth need to perform the task with utmost precision. Most of the jobs need supervision being supervised at the level of JE/SSE and executed while dealing with the live traffic encountering practical difficulties and works that are multifarious in nature.
✓ Certain works affecting safety of travelling public are to be taken up on war footing as necessitated, as the staff has a direct linkage to the safe working of trains. Works on Bridges, high density routes, curvatures, gradients, etc. in all sorts of inclement weather and terrain are carried out against the nature, uncaring one’s physical & mental health and having a direct impact on their health.
✓ With uneven/irregular meal timings, outside food, unhygienic places of consumption of food, walking for longer distances on the track and on uneven grounds, etc. have been leading to serious health disorders.
✓ The mid sections having no building/hut/tool room etc. to meet the nature’s requirement as well to have a meal/rest. The staff is forced to expose continuously to the hot sun, rain, cold, mist, etc. detrimental to one’s health and undertake the works.
✓ Overall the category is prone to health hazards, facing risk, with increased workload, bear additional responsibilities due to technological changes while handling complicated and critical nature of jobs, without rational manpower. The jobs are multifarious viz. Technical, Establishment, Stores, Joint Inspections, etc. and are therefore prone to exhaustion.
All these staff are therefore required to be covered under Risk and Hardship Allowance atleast in Cell R2 H2.
6 MEDICAL DEPARTMENT:
Pursuant to the implementation of the recommendations of 7th CPC, Railway Board have issued instructions for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance to a few categories of Railway employees. Subsequently, NFIR sent communications to Railway Board to widen the scope of Risk & Hardship Allowance covering different categories of Railway Staff whose nature of duties are also hazardous and prone to risk and also taken up vide PNM Agenda Item No. 53/2018 at Railway Board’s level.
Further to above, Federation continues to receive grievances from the Radiographer category working in the Railway Hospitals whose job involves on slot of radiation and is highly hazardous from all angles despite taking all precautions. The risk of radiation hazard faced by these Radiographers is such that its impact can neither be minimized nor eliminated causing further adverse effect such as reddening of skin (erythema), pre-mature greying of, and loss of hairs (epilation) and impotency in males and sterility in females (when reproductive organs are exposed). It also cannot be ruled out that the exposure to radiation faced by the Radiographers can generate huge adverse effect such as shortening of life span, diseases like cataract, cancer, loss of resistance to infection, coronary heart diseases, which further causes hereditary and genetic effects on the next generation of these staff. These factors justify grant of Risk and Hardship Allowance to Radiographers in Railways. Federation has also cited a few cases of Radiographers who have been facing health hazards due to their exposure to Radiation and examples where a Radiographer lost his life and a couple of others have been suffering from serious ailment of cancer due to their working on the Radiological machines.
Federation accordingly proposes for grant of Risk and Hardship Allowance to the Radiographers under high risk category (Cell R1H1) for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance @ Rs. 17300/- p.m.
The Safaiwala/Safaiwalis working in the Railway Hospitals, Health Units, Clinics belonging to Medical Department are the most affected category due to the reason that they have to clean and swipe all types of garbage and outputs left by the patients to acquire any disease while performing their legitimate duties. Their jobs are also risky endangering their lives. This category also deserves to be included in the Risk and Hardship Matrix (R3H2) vide Para 8.10.75 of 7th CPC report.
Federation recommends that the Safaiwalas/Safaiwalis of Medical Department may also paid Risk and Hardship Allowance.
7 ACCOUNTS DEPARTMENT:
Accounts Stock Verifier:
As per extant instructions of Railway Board, the Accounts Assistant (PB-2+GP 4200) were granted incentive on their placement as Accounts Stock Verifier in same Grade Pay. Pursuant to the recommendations of 7th CPC, this incentive stood abolished w.e.f. 01/07/2017. This Special Allowance @ Rs. 1000 per month was paid considering the special nature of duties performed by Stock Verifiers involving lot of touring and inspecting the sites for verification of various stocks of materials, stores items in mid-sections and at Depots/Yards. Federation contends that duties of Stock Verifiers of Accounts Department have not undergone any change, therefore this Allowance should be restored for payment to the Stock Verifiers in view of their hard nature of duties and risk involved. Federation therefore requests the Railway Board to include the Stock Verifier category in the Risk and Hardship Matrix in Cell R3H2 for grant of Risk and Hardship Allowance.
NFIR also places below an extract of Para 8.10.65 of Risk and Hardship Matrix recommended by the 7th CPC where a frame work has been provided for the Administrative Ministry to take action. This implies that the deserving categories, presently not covered for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance can be considered for inclusion and Risk and Hardship Allowance of appropriate cell granted, depending upon the severity of the Risk & Hardship.
“It would make the administration of these allowances simple and provide a framework for the Government for future inclusion of. any new allowance, which can be placed in the appropriate cell depending upon the severity of the Risk and Hardship involved”.
NFIR, therefore, requests the Committee to consider the categories of staff detailed above for bringing them within the ambit of Risk and Hardship Matrix for payment of Risk and Hardship Allowance.