ECoR employees gherao GM in Bhubaneswar

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Bhubaneshwar, Sep 23: Hundreds of employees of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) gheraoed General Manager A K Goyal's office to protest the deduction of their one-day's salary for the Railway Minister's Relief Fund.

The agitating employees withdrew their demonstration last night after the General Manager assured them that no deduction will be made in their salary and it would not be mandatory for the employees to donate but they could do so voluntarily.

''While our people are reeling under the impact of severe floods, our money should not be sent to the flood-affected people of Bihar,'' the railway employees said.

They alleged that the money donated to the Railway Minister's Relief Fund would be utilised according to the whims of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad.

''The railway administration has been forcibly deducting our one day's salary through pressure tactics without taking the employees into account,'' they said.

The administration, the employees said, had already advanced a cheque of Rs 90 lakh toward the RMRF for floods in north Bihar.

The employees said when a super-cyclone struck Orissa in 1999 no contribution was made by the Railways.

''We have now appealed to the General Manager to contribute for the flood-affected people of Orissa but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears,'' they said.

The employees, led by their leader P R Mohanty, argued that they used to donate Rs 100 each to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund during any disaster of high magnitude in the country.

However, this time they were asked to contribute to the Railway Minister's Welfare and Relief Fund.

The employees, Mr Mohanty said, were ready to contribute for the Orissa flood victims as Bihar had already received Rs 1,000 crore from the Centre as announced by Prime Minister Manmiohan Singh during his visit to the flood-hit Bihar.

When contacted, the ECoR spokesman denied that the employees were forced to donate the amount to the Railway Minister's Welfare and Relief Fund.


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