A scandal that interests no one (by Dibyesh Anand)

The hard and meticulous work catering staff do in Indian railways is under appreciated. I was told there is a major scam under the public private partnership schemes. For each staff the Railways pays say 6000rs to the catering contractor but less than 50% of that actually goes to the pocket of workers. The contractor gets signatures for full payment but will dock most of the pay. No one dares to complain because they can be fired without any notice.

Some of the guys who serve food or give and take linens on Rajdhanis have bachelors degree but since they have no money to pay bribes to get into better paying jobs and are responsible for their family’s survival, they remain part of this exploitation.

I have not stopped wondering why such kinds of massive systemic scandalous corruption (I am told this illegal docking of pay is common across all contractors) are not investigated by the media. Won’t this be a big story? Or may be not for who really cares for who serves us on the train? Don’t many of us travelling in AC compartments not even see the catering staff, never ask them their names, never see them as human beings? We see them but do not really see them. So long as they serve us and we tip them in the end (some of us grudgingly, others happily).

Their stories are not likely to be told.



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