Pakistan Railways porters staged a protest demonstration at Khanewal station against the PR administration for not allowing them to work at the station. They were chanting slogans against the DCO railways and other hi-ups on the arrival of trains. They demanded that they should be allowed to work on daily wages until the new contract for the year 2014-15 was signed.

Led by Muhammad Afzal, the porters along with their children protested on Khanewal station. Holding placards in favour of their demands, they said that their contracts with the Railways expired on July 31, 2014, and according to the railways law, the previous contractor may continue with his team after depositing Rs1,250 per day.

Thus, they demanded, they should be treated as daily wagers till the new contract as they have been depositing the required amount without any delay since August 1, 2014. But, the railway administration due to unknown reason had directed the porters to stop working on the railways station. Due to the ban, these porters have been unemployed and stoves of their house extinguished. They threatened that if immediate action was not taken to allow them working on the station, they along with their families would commit suicide under the trains, and the railway minister, the DS railway Multan and DCO railway would be responsible for their suicides. They said that on Multan railway station, about 100 porters had been working on daily wages and their contractors Afzal, Saeed and other are depositing only Rs1,000 per day. When contacted, SS Railway Khanewal Muhammad Usman said that he was not responsible for the situation, adding that the DCO and DS railways had imposed the ban. Passengers arrived on 7-up Tezgam Express and 2-Dn Khyber Mail Express said that they were facing problems due to unavailability of railway porters.

Reopening of rail booking centres demanded

KHANEWAL: Traders, political activists and civil society members have demanded reopening of three online booking centres of Pakistan Railways at Multan division as the commuters have been faced with problems due to their long closure.

Out of six online reservation centres set up in Khanewal, Multan, Bahawalpur, Chichawatni, Sahiwal and Shorekot, three centres of Chichawatni, Sahiwal and Shorekot were closed after a fire erupted in the central exchange Lahore on one of the floors of the building located on the city’s Egerton Road on September 28, 2014.

Since then, these online reservation centres have been lying dysfunctional, badly affecting the passengers interested to travel through rails as they have to travel through private vehicles. The situation is also causing loss to the railways. The residents of the area demanded that the Railways high-up’s should immediately take action and restore online railway reservation for the residents of Khanewal, Multan, Bahawalpur, Chichawatni, Sahiwal and Shorkot. –Staff Reporter