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On 4th of August, The New Indian Express published a report claiming that hundreds of people from North India have been appointed to Indian Railways in Tamil Nadu, while very few locals were selected for the vacant posts. The report claimed that hundreds of natives from North Indian states arrived in Trichy in Tamil Nadu by flights for document verification process of the recruitment, and they didn’t take COVID-19 tests and didn’t self-isolated themselves.
The report claims that out of the 581 vacancies available for the Technicians (Grade-3) posts in Ponmalai Railway Workshop, only 12 people from Tamil Nadu were selected. It adds that 163 candidates from Bihar and 115 from Rajasthan were selected for the position.
The New Indian Express reports that ex-apprentices of Railways have alleged corruption in appointment in Railways to favour North Indians, and they staged protests against this. The ex-apprentices questioned how North Indians were called for verification, and how they travelled all the way to Tamil Nadu during the Coronavirus pandemic. The report also quoted one former apprentice saying that “Tamilians those who finished apprenticeship are waiting for jobs since 2008. But the railways are selecting North Indians primarily.” He also asked did the North Indians participated in the verification without quarantine.
Almost two weeks after the publication of the report, now the Indian Railways has issued a statement denying all the allegations made in the report. The statement issued by Southern Railway states that there are 21 Railway recruitment Boards in India, and all RRBs call for applications for various posts through a common notification taking into account all the vacancies that are existing in Various zonal Railways and Production units. Applications are invited through “Employment News” and the websites of the RRBs.
Therefore, candidates from all over the country can apply for vacant jobs anywhere in India under any RRB. At the time of applying they have to select any one RRB, and they are allotted a Railway zone based on their selection of RRB. Once a board is selected, a candidate can’t change the same. This means, the North Indian candidates who had arrived in Tamil Nadu had selected the Chennai RRB at the time of submitting the application forms itself.
Coming to the allegation that only 12 candidates from Tamil Nadu were selected, the statement says in the total number of selected candidates, 17% are from Tamil Nadu. The recruitments are being done for two posts, Assistant Loco Pilot and Technician. For the post of Assistant Loco Pilot, 53% of the selected candidates are from Tamil Nadu.
The statement informs that the number of Technicians selected from Tamil Nadu is less because most of the candidates from the state were over-qualified. The qualification criteria for Technician is ITI degree in the relevant field, and Engineering Degree or Diploma holders are not selected for the post of Technician. For the ALP post, these qualifications are accepted. Due to this reason, while more than half the candidates selected for the post of ALP are from Tamil Nadu, the share of candidates from the state for Technician is much less.
The Railways have also denied the allegations of violating Coronavirus protocol by the candidates who had reached Trichy for verification. The statement informs that the candidates were called for Certification verification from 4th August, and they were informed about the same much earlier. The Candidates arrived by flight well ahead of the scheduled date, and underwent 14 days of mandatory quarantine, Southern Railway confirms. The railway has also confirmed that swab tests were done for all the candidates as per the state govt’s protocols, and the results of the tests were verified by the Railway authorities through the online Covid-19 portal of the district administration.
Referring to the former-apprentices waiting for recruitment in Railways, the statement adds that Railways engage apprentices in workshops and Production units and impart them technical training with the objective of developing skilled manpower, and employment in Railways is not guaranteed on completion of Apprenticeship. Still, Railways have earmarked 20% posts in Railway Recruitment Cell for which aspirants who have completed Railway apprentice training are free to apply.
The statement by Southern Railway deny any foul-play in candidates as alleged in the news report. It says that RRB conducts exam in a fair and transparent manner, which is a computer-based test and notifications are issued on pan India basis. It also states that candidates from across the country have the right to choose any specific RRB, and candidates are selected purely based on their merits and their eligibility criteria irrespective of their state of origin.
The Southern Railway has asked the New Indian Express to publish the correct facts, so that misconception in the minds of public is cleared.