Train services have been severely affected in India’s Mumbai on Tuesday as thousands of job aspirants blocked railway tracks demanding immediate placement.
Media reports said that as many as 60 local trains were cancelled in Mumbai following the protest, thus affecting the commute of over two million people.
Local trains are the lifeline of India’s financial capital.
The protesters blocked the tracks during the morning rush hour, claiming that they have already cleared the railway apprentice exams but are yet to be given jobs by the Indian Railways.
However, Indian Railways officials say that apprentices have to undergo mandatory training for a specified period before they are offered jobs as per rules.
The state-owned Indian Railways in February announced that it would recruit nearly 90,000 new employees, days after deciding to sack in one go some 13,000 staffers on “unauthorised” leave.
The Indian Railways is one of the world’s largest train networks, criss-crossing the country from north to south. It operates 9,000 trains and carries nearly 23 million passengers daily.
The vast public enterprise runs schools, hospitals. It also has its own police force and has 1.3 million people on its payroll, making it the seventh biggest employer in the world.
However, much of the colonial-era rail infrastructure is out of date.
In 2015, the Indian government pledged 137 billion U.S. dollars over five years to modernise the railways.