Railways to shut 14 printing presses, redeploy staff into other departments
The decision was made during the meeting called by the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. The meeting consisted of Railway Board members and general managers of 17 railway zones.
The Indian Railways is planning to close down all its printing presses. The employees from the presses will be deployed into other departments, the Financial Express reported.
The development comes after the Railways decided to do away with departments that no longer serve a purpose in functioning. “All printing presses owned by the railways will be closed and staff will be redeployed. The railways runs 14 printing presses,” a ministry official said in a statement.
The decision was made during a meeting called by the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal with Railway Board members and general managers of 17 railway zones.
The printing units are mostly outdated with old machinery and with lesser requirement for paper-based communication, the need for these presses has reduced.
“Traditionally, a lot of paper such as forms were used by the railways. But now these are getting automated and the quality of these presses are also very poor, given their vintage-era machines. These are moribund 19th century units which are not required anymore,” another railway official added.
The closure of the presses would be done through tenders, the report added.
In 2009, the Railways had decided to close or merge smaller printing presses. At 2016-end, the transporter was looking at increasing capacity of five of these presses by modernizing the infrastructure.
The printing units were used for printing books, forms and tickets. Later, with the introduction of IRCTC, majority of ticketing moved online.
However, the printing of budget-related documents was not done in these presses. It was done at a security press not operated by Railways till last year.
A former finance officer said that, “Earlier, these units were used to print tickets which were then supplied to stations. Now, they have been computerised. Most of the units have become non-operational and have very few staff. The real estate of these units can be put to more productive use.”The move also intends to redeploy the working staff by re-organising the structure. “The railways wants to weed out people from the system. For instance, some officers have far too many peons. They will be drawn out, trained and put on field,” the railway official added.