As the protest against "irregularities" in railway recruitment in the disabled category entered the third day on Friday, the railways assured the agitators that no vacancy for 'divyangjan' will be filled by any other category.
The sit-in protest, which has led to massive traffic snarls in central Delhi since October 23, is over filling up of posts reserved for persons with benchmark disabilities (PwBD) in the recent level-1 recruitment exercise of the Indian Railways.
"The Indian Railways is committed to follow the all extant instructions regarding recruitment of persons with benchmark disabilities (PwBD)," the national transporter said in a statement. It said the railways issued a centralised recruitment notification in February 2018 for around 63,000 posts. This notification also included posts for persons with benchmark disabilities.
Subsequently, based on the provisions of the revised PwBD Act that mandated four per cent reservation for PwBD categories (including newly introduced Multi Disability category), an additional window was notified for candidates to apply.
"Thereafter, based on orders of the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi, a clear 1 per cent distribution of vacancies for each of the four PwBD categories for the recruitment exercise was made increasing the total number of vacancies reserved for PwBD to around 2500," the statement said.
The railways further said that complaint of the protesters before the Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPWD) was about this revision in the vacancy percentage and specific grievances of some divyangjan candidates in some zones as regards communication on qualifying marks and calling for document verification.
It said five written representations in this connection came up for hearing before the CCPWD on October 23. A detailed meeting between representatives of the protesters and senior railway board officers was held in the office of secretary, Ministry of Social Justice on October 24 to understand the grievances, explain the railways' position and actions taken.
During the meeting, the railway board officers assured the protesters that all their grievances would be examined and those genuine would be addressed in a time-bound manner, the statement said.
The matter was thereafter heard in the court of CCPWD on October 25. "All qualified PwBD candidates would be appointed as per their merit/turn in their respective Railway zones. Any unfilled vacancies would not be filled by other non-PwBD candidates. Candidates can give their grievances and it will be examined carefully and expeditiously," the railways said.
"Under no circumstances will any vacancy for divyangjan be filled by any other categories. The Indian Railways has a clear commitment to recruit divyangjan against the posts identified for them as per quota prescribed," the statement added.