Over delayed salary Darjeeling steam loco Workers on strike

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Darjeeling
Darjeeling: Cease work by contractual workers has been robbing the world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) of steam for the past two days. The DHR has suspended the steam loco joy ride services owing to the workers refusing to carry coal for the steam engines. The contractual workers refused to carry coal owing to non-disbursement of salary by the contractor. "The contractor has not paid us our monthly salary yet, hence, we have stopped working. As soon as we receive payments we will resume work," stated Kishor Sunam, a contractual worker.

Sunam stated that every two or three year contractors are engaged by the Railways. The contractor in turn enters into agreement with the contractual workers. "Promod Chettri of Kurseong, the present contractor had assured us that we would receive our salary by the 5th of every month. However, we have not yet received our salary. We tried to contact him but have not been able to. Hence, we were compelled to stop work," added Sunam.

Owing to this, the steam service has come to a grinding halt since Tuesday. During off tourist season, the DHR operates 3 steam joy ride services and 1 diesel joy ride service. For the 16 km joy ride, the fare is Rs 1310 for the steam service and Rs 805 for the diesel service. "We have been coaxing the passengers of the steam joy ride and accommodating them in the diesel joy rides," stated a DHR personnel. There are 6 coal carrying workers; 2 coach cleaning workers and 2 shed cleaning workers in the contractual system. "I have been working for the past 40 years and my salary is a meager Rs 9000. In 1999, a Kathihar based contractor had not paid us 3 months' salary," complained Kishor Rai, a coal carrying worker. Around 18 quintals of coal is required to fire a steam loco for a single trip. Later in the evening Suman Pradhan, Station Manager stated that the Railway authorities had managed to contact the Contractor. "He has assured to disburse the salary on Thursday. Steam services will resume from Thursday," added Pradhan. The DHR was inscribed a World Heritage site on December 2, 1999.

http://www.millenniumpost.in/kolkata/
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Cease work by contractual workers has been robbing the world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) of steam for the past two days. The DHR has suspended the steam loco joy ride services owing to the workers refusing to carry coal for the steam engines. The contractual workers refused to carry coal owing to non-disbursement of salary by the contractor.

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