New Delhi, May 20 (PTI) The All India Station Masters' Association (AISMA) on Thursday said it will launch a text message and social media campaign on May 31 to push for the vaccination of all its members and railway staffers amidst the government's instruction to the states to adhere to the central list of frontline workers and refrain from using the vaccines allocated by it for any additional categories.
Nearly 150 station masters have died of COVID-19 so far, while around 2,000 railway employees have succumbed to the viral disease.
In a letter to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, the association had informed that it had set a deadline of June 30 for the vaccination of its members and other frontline rail workers.
In a statement issued on Thursday, it said all station masters and frontline railway staffers should be vaccinated by June 30 irrespective of their age.
The Union government, in a letter to the state chief secretaries, has instructed them to adhere to the central list of frontline workers (FLWs), adding that the states cannot give the vaccines allocated by the Centre to any additional category.
The association said it was 'shocked' to find that the Union health secretary had given instructions 'not to include railway employees in the list of FLWs'.
'We, the station masters and the other open line railway employees, who are involved in train operation, are to be included immediately in the list of FLWs for facilitating vaccination,' the AISMA said, adding that it will organise a campaign through text messages and social media platforms such as Twitter and WhatsApp on May 31 for the vaccination of all station masters as well as a special insurance coverage for them and other essential train-operating staff.
It said text messages will be sent by over 30,000 station masters from all over the country, adding that it will be done to 'express our strong resentment against the indolent approach of the Railway Board'.
The union, however, said there will be no disruption to train services due to the protest campaign.
'This is a legitimate action against the negligence of the administration. Any further delay may force the non-vaccinated station masters to take necessary steps towards their healthcare from July 1,' the statement said.
Railway employees are not included as FLWs in the Centre's list. However, states such as Odisha and West Bengal have identified them as FLWs. PTI ASG RC