Porters hold classes in Patna
Bihar, May 2: The railway station in Patna presents a colourful pageant where hundreds of red-shirted railway porters are teaching one other ahead of the selection process for the post of gang men.
Following the 'each one - teach one' motto, the educated porters have taken it upon themselves to educate their illiterate colleagues to facilitate them to compete for the post of gang man in the Indian railways.
Having set up the classroom on the railway platform itself, the literate porters said that they want that their 'brothers' should make it to the post of gang man.
"We are teaching our brothers as we want to educate them for the gang man's post. We are taking out time every day to teach them," said Angad Paswan, a teacher porter.
The railway porters including the illiterate ones had initially celebrated Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's promise of recruiting them as gang men, but now a worried lot fearing that they might not qualify.
Their recruitment is to take place in the wake of proposed promotion of thousands of existing gang men to man unmanned railway crossings to curb accidents.
The classes are being organised by colleagues when there are no trains arriving and the platform sports a deserted look.
"We want to apply for the post of gang man. Educated porters are taking out time for us and we study here," said Sanjeet Rai, a student porter.
Licensed porters are not employees of the Indian Railways. They are merely contracted to offer their services to passengers and the announcement by the railway minister to induct them as gang men has brought a big expectation for them.
Lalu had announced that a licensed porter would be promoted to the post of a gangman - a Group D category.
Gangmen or trackmen are a crucial link in the Indian Raliways' safety apparatus. They walk along tracks checking for any defects such as loosening of the nuts and bolts that fasten that hold the track to the sleeper.