Work in progress .... and a Coolie sitting under it . The lot of the downtrodden Indian railway “coolie”, or porter, is set to improve under plans laid out by the government to try to modernise the country’s vast railway system.
Porters will now be referred to as “sahayaks” (“helpers” in Hindi) instead of “coolie”, a derogatory term widely regarded as a relic of British colonial rule in India. Porters will also be given new uniforms, be asked to learn “soft skills” for dealing with passengers, and to ease the hardship of carrying heavy suitcases – often balanced on their heads – more trolleys for porters will be made available.
Partap, another porter, said: “We continue to be neglected for the past 40 years and our condition will not change by just addressing us as sahayaks. We have been demanding benefits such as pension and insurance, which will actually benefit us after retirement.” All I can say is it’s all work in progress all this was promised in 2015 yet we don’t see any of this being implemented. Uniforms are the same . Pay scales remain the same . The respect they get even lesser . Coolie a highly underrated job.
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