Tuesday, September 29, 2009

FirstOctoberBSNLDay M-9426201999
Baby is born after nine years – Company’s future health will decide whether it is groomed in a robust manner or gets deformed.

Promulgation of BSNL MS recruitment Rules required extraordinary perseverance, pursuance, Organizational pressure, and, of course, unprecedented amount of patience before the final breakthrough was recently achieved. Yes, nine years - long as it may seem – was a mixture of both the inspiration and perspiration. Inspiration in that a radical and novel concept of elimination of JTS in functional path and an emphatic shift in integration of seniority between DRs and PRs from JTS to JAG conceived by us decades before was finally attained, and the success of bringing about this critical change in fixation of seniority from JTS to JAG undoubtedly required some bold deliberations and bolder decisions. Big questions were raised when we started talking and discussing the new concept and serious apprehensions were expressed about the final outcome of our effort in this direction. Doubts about the final outcome of this new and significant beginning by the critics emanated from the fact that all previous half hearted attempts at even marginal improvements had failed miserably. And hence the concept itself was beyond imagination and digestion, because the scope of this new concept was not marginal but substantial. But then we went ahead with our business boldly, banking on the strength and commitment of our comrades and the rightful and deserved merit of our cause.

Perspiration was the remaining part of the story. Relentlessly we fought at all the levels, at various stages, forcing open all the locked doors in the way, without tiring – without giving up an inch. And the final result was a fair deal, the deal that we had asked for - the deal for which we had bargained for. More than 30 years of deprivation that our cadres were subjected to without any respite was at last broken down. Our predecessors, all of them, without exception, had to step out of the doors of DOT/ BSNL after 35 and 40 years of service just carrying the labels of Retd. Sr. SDEs. But, today we are extremely satisfied that the new formulation because of our sustained actions will open the doors for the hitherto forbidden and undreamt territories of STS, JAG and even SAG (GM) for the younger generations, the efforts and sacrifice of the elders, as always and naturally, standing good for the youngsters. It is quite natural that in a militant and committed organizational set up there are some who have to bear the cross so that the others may live in bliss. The elders will not mind it, but, on the contrary, they will be extremely happy and consider privileged to have done something for the posterity. We salute them. But, we do not know whether the youngsters are meticulously analyzing the likely impact of this momentous achievement. Because many of them are still in a wonderland with their minds filled with pipe -dreams. We have only hope that they come down to the earth. We have worked out for them several streams of fast track promotion and by raising the integration level from the JTS to the JAG level all the bottlenecks have been broken open. With the pay scales and time-bound promotions worked out through the hard work of this Association, we are sure that no one can complain. And we do not have to explain.

Moreover, there is always scope for further improvements in any new dispensation. The only thing that we have to clearly understand is that gate which was hitherto locked for decades has been opened and to what extent we are in a position to penetrate in future just depends on how solidly and unitedly like a rock we stand and struggle in the days to come to secure further career improvements. This breakthrough has to be viewed and analyzed in a broader context, without prejudice, without sectarian considerations. If we do that, we can surely understand and realize what promise it holds for us in the future.

But then when we clamour for and win over the justified rights, let us not forget that we will have to impose ourselves with the responsibility of keeping this Company going. Not only going but going as the first rated Company not only in the country but also in Asia that was our envisaged vision. That is where we always look at the status of the company vis-à-vis our performance on the market and profit fronts, pushing many of our justified demands to the back-burner so that this Company may not only survive but also rise above the rest of the competitors. And again it is not for nothing. We do not even deny some selfish motives. If ITI was an example, today Air India is a trendsetter because there we see pink slips not only for the employees but even for the Management. Naturally no one can permit a delinquent organization to continue without profit - without the right market share. Yes, we are visionaries in selfishness too. We dream of a great salary package and even greater career advancements for our members. And for that we have no doubt that the performance of the organization only counts and gives us the platform to ask for more – to ask for the better – and to earn it rightfully and nobly. Yes, we are selfish for the cause of the Executives – and that makes us even more selfish for the Company.

That is precisely why we focus on the issue at hand. Even as the balance sheets unfold we see the profits falling by huge percentages. And that is not a happy sight for us. We see the market shares falling steadily. During the first three months of the current year 2009-10, which we started with a firm resolve, our market share has fallen from 77.42% to 76.80 % in the Landline, from 16.20% to 15.52% in the mobile and from 18.98 to 17.89 in the total. When Airtel has crossed 100 million and raises its profit even for the current quarter by 24%, shall we stay as dumb onlookers with excuses for the failures of our Company on both fronts? We reported the dismal performance of our Company in the mobile sector in May 09 as a mere 0.4 million as against the set target of 3 million. Similarly in June we have been able to achieve just about 0.8 million v/s a target of 3 million. But the Airtel has been consistently doing around 2.8 million in all the last 3 months. In fact we stand a poor fifth among our national rivals in mobile growth during 2009-10, even the midget Aircel getting the better of us.

That is why we have been fully supporting, with no holds barred, the earnest efforts of the Management to elevate the status of the Company in every way. We have been fully endorsing the 100 days’ programme of the CMD. Although in the landline sector he has set a target of zero net growth or shall we say net decline in 2009-10, the first three months again display poor, no, dismal readings. We have lost around 5. 52 lakh connections during the first quarter, despite the modest target, with almost all Circles, except NE-II, contributing towards massive losses. And the major culprits being Maharashtra, losing around 1 lakh customers, followed by A.P. with 62,000 losses, Gujarat with over 48,000 and W. Bengal with 46,000 odd losses. Why we are going through the figures. Yes, we want the Circles and our Organizations there to look up and ensure an arrest in the erosion. Similarly on the Revenue front the target set by the CMD in the landline sector for 2009-10 is a very modest 9698 crores. The performance of the first two months viz. Apr & May cannot be called scintillating, with income of less than 1600 crores. If the erosion in the base is not arrested, the decline in revenue is also going to be steeper. We need not find out the reason. And the reason is supported by the statistics for May where the revenue was less by around 15 crores from April when we lost the base by about 1.75 lakh. This clearly means that we are not doing much and much more is desired. Unless definite improvement is brought forth by our cadres, definitely called and are the backbone of this Company, this Association will not be able to pursue aggressively other cadre issues. Dear Comrades, we have to understand this simple logic. Therefore it is up to us to perform and deliver.

We know that even some of our hard core members feel upset about our present stand and continuous focus on issues of growth. But then we will continue, because we can never afford to remain short-sighted. We have to set our sights into the distance. And there see it clearly, not imagine that we see only the oasis and not the deserts, if they really are there. The time for illusions is over and it will reach us nowhere but our doom. And when we see the deserts we will be able to see the oasis from where we should be able to get the right nourishment. And that is what we, fully consciously, are doing at present. No one can deter us from our job. Because we are answerable to not only to the personal glories of the present, that brings us immediate crowns. We are answerable to the posterity- to the society - and to the Nation, simply because we belong to the Company, to the society and to the Nation. We are a national asset. We belong to none but the great Indian Public. And we owe an answer to them if we fail. Sure, Comrades, we shall not fail in our endeavour, we shall not fail the Company, we shall not fail our great India. M-9426201999

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