Sena, Cong unions join hands to gain control over rly co-op society

ShivSena & Cong unions (RKS+CRMS) join hands to gain control over Rly co-op society (ECC)

MUMBAI: Even as Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray has declared that the Congress is his top enemy, at a lower level, the Sena-controlled Rail Kamgar Sena (RKS) and Congress-affiliated Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh (CRMS) have joined hands to gain control over Asia’s biggest employees’ credit cooperative society.

The election for the Central Railway Employees’ Cooperative Credit Society is scheduled for June 18. The society – with nearly 1.75 lakh shareholders, Rs 551 crore deposits and Rs 800 crore working capital – has been under the control of the Secular National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU) (which was formed by workers only and not affiliated to any Political Party) for well over four decades.

In the past, several unions had made an unsuccessful attempts to gain control over the society, but this is the first time that unions affiliated to Shiv Sena and Congress have joined hands to defeat the NRMU. In fact, the RKS and CRMS have set up a `parivartan’ panel to ensure NRMU’s defeat.

At a recent meeting of railway employees, veteran trade union leader and CRMS president Rajendra Prasad Bhatnagar declared that the CRMS and RKS will jointly contest the elections to gain control over the employees’ credit cooperative society.

RKS and CRMS leaders are alleging that there were large scale irregularities in the society.

NRMU leader and society President Nitin Pradhan has denied the allegations, saying that the society’s functioning is completely transparent. "Our operations are transparent. Any member or a railway employee can visit the society and see for himself the transactions,” Pradhan said.

When Pradhan took over the society’s reins two years ago, critics said it would soon be in the red. But proving them wrong, the deposits increased from Rs 521 crore to Rs 551 crore in less than a year.

Describing the allegations as baseless, Pradhan said the society had paid a dividend of 15.5%, the highest ever in the history of any cooperative credit society. "Now, the Sena and Congress have joined hands do defeat us, but they will not succeed,” Pradhan said.

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