Countdown for railway press closure begins

A machine installed in 1907 indicates that the press has crossed a century

The decision of the Railway Board and Union Ministry of Railways to close the factory which has completed a century (102 years), the staff especially artisans are a worried lot about their future. Though the Board has promised to re-deploy the staffers at the press by promoting them to the higher grade posts, the artisans, who constitute majority of the staff, are opposed to the same. Apart from printing card tickets they are not skilled in any other work. With K H Muniyappa, an MP from Kolar being Union Minister of State for Railways, the staff are hopeful that he may evince interest in the same.

According to the document available with Deccan Herald, in the name of modernisation, the Ticket Printing Factory (Press) of South Western Railway functioning in the ground floor of the office of Divisional Railway Manager in Mysore will be closed by March 2010 under first stage. This follows the recommendations of the meeting of Railway Board held in January. When the recommendations had been placed before the meeting held in December last, Deccan Herald had carried a detailed report. Following this, the Board had decided to go slow and deliberated on the issue twice, but to no avail. According to the decision, the load of the Mysore press will be catered by the press at Thiruchirapalli of Southern Railway in Tamil Nadu. Apart from Mysore’s press, the factory at Jodhpur of North Western Railway (NWR) will also be closed in the first phase. The load of that unit will be shifted to the press at Ajmer of NWR. 

Strength of staff

The total strength of the staff at the factory is 12 comprising a Junior Engineer in-charge of affairs and a clerk. The remaining are artisans. On an average 80,000 card tickets are printed per day at the factory here. The tickets printed here are still issued for short distance journeys in Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Mandya and Bangalore districts. It is again the card tickets that come to the rescue during occasions to clear the extra rush in the railway stations. Recently during the car festival at Nanjangud which is popular as ‘Dodda Jatre’, card tickets were issued apart from computerised tickets to meet the demand.

Errors galore

Earlier when the the task of printing card tickets was entrusted to the press at Secunderabad (due to overload of work in Mysore) in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, ‘Holenarsipur’ was inadvertently printed as ‘Holanaraseepur’ in Kannada besides ‘Belagola’ had become ‘Belagula’. As the artisans in the printing press other than Mysore are obviously not aware of Kannada language, mistakes are bound to occur again by shifting the job to Thiruchirapalli press, it is alleged.

To be closed...

* First stage (March 2010): Mysore and Jodhpur
* Second stage (March 2013): Garden Reach, Kolkata, Gorakhpur, Kurseong, Ajmer

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