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Good job, Indian Railways! Coolies to get pathways for movement of luggage, modern rest facilities and more

Debjit Sinha

Indian Railways brings relief to passengers and coolies or sahayaks! Remember Amitabh Bachchan’s super-hit Bollywood movie Coolie where the Big B played the protagonist role of a coolie. The movie depicted the struggles of coolies. Cut to 2019, Indian Railways is upgrading its infrastructure on railway stations to help coolies across the country and is also taking care of their children, says a PTI report. Piyush Goyal-led Railway ministry has approved a proposal to build pathways for trolleys used by coolies or sahayaks to move the luggage of passengers.

The move by Indian Railways is aimed at easing passenger traffic at stations. The central government also wants to enhance the social security for ‘sahayaks’, which is considered as unorganised sector, the report said. The construction of the pathways comes after the coolies were renamed ‘sahayaks’ in 2016. Coolies generally ferry passenger luggage on their heads. But Indian Railways has given the options to coolies to use trolleys and hand barrows for transporting luggage.

However, the use of trolleys and hand barrows has led to congestion at Indian Railways stations. Apart from this, it becomes difficult to navigate these trolleys during the rush hour and festival times when a large number of passengers travel through trains. In an order, Indian Railways has said that pathways for trolleys will be constructed to facilitate smooth movement. These pathways may be provided at all major stations, Indian Railways said.

Additionally, the children of sahayaks will now get the education in schools run by railwaymen’s organisation or Mahila Samiti at any station in the division where they are working. Indian Railways has also decided Sahayak restrooms at stations with the strength of 50 or more sahayaks, will be provided with barrack beds, RO and television sets. The validity of complimentary passes provided to sahayaks has been increased to five months from the existing two months. This is at par with railway staff.