First AC local train to be on tracks this December 100 Maratha groups behind the faceless protests across state
From December this year, suburban rail commuters may be able to take an airconditioned train to work and back.
The trial runs for the train will begin by next month.
The 12-car AC train is currently at the Central Railway (CR) car-shed at Kurla for lastminute fittings.
“We were waiting for the inductor, which has arrived now. It will be fitted by the end of this month, after which static and dynamic safety trials will be conducted by Research Designs and Standards Organization (RDSO),” said Central Railway (CR) General Manager (GM) Akhil Agarwal.
Once they have been certified, the train will be inducted on the suburban network.
The railways have not decided which section will get the first AC train
The silent Maratha protests gripping the state, portrayed as a faceless agitation led by the people, are backed by nearly 100 organisations across districts and a core of hardline organisations that have been working in the state for more than two decades.
The protests were triggered by the brutal rape and murder of a minor in Kopardi in western Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district in July this year. What is now a huge state-wide mobilisation of the community began with small local rallies in Ahmednagar and later in Marathawada – both regions marked by strong caste politics – after the Class 8 student was gang raped, tortured and murdered by three Dalit labourers when she was on her way home from her grandfather’s house.
But the big rallies began with a call by the Sakal Maratha Samaj – an umbrella group of nine organisations - on August 10 in Aurangabad. The rally not only saw an unexpected turnout, but also got several organisations across districts joining the movement in just a month-and-a half.
The first rally was not taken seriously by the administration or Maratha politicians, but it set a pattern for the rallies to come – non-violence, young women protesters, the absence of leaders and remarkable discipline – all of which marked a shift from the community’s history.
The Union government doubled on Thursday the limit on money from provident fund that can be invested in stock, bond and commodities markets, defying labour unions that say such investments are more prone to risks.
The labour ministry said the doubling of the 5% ceiling on investments in exchangetraded funds (ETF) will ensure higher returns for PF account holders.
The move bypassed the central board of trustees of the Employee Provident Fund Organisation that usually takes decisions on the provident fund corpus which gives financial security to millions of working Indians who contribute to it.
“We decided to raise it... keeping the good economic situation, ground conditions and how social security funds invest globally. We are custodians of workers money and our responsibility is to see they get good returns,” labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya said at a press conference.
EPFO has already invested Rs1,500 crore in ETFs in the first half of the current fiscal and will invest about Rs500 crore in the remaining six months.