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Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the eve of this New Year let's promise to keep the ball rolling:

Dear Comrades,
The clock is advancing relentlessly with its tick-tock music as a new year starts and old one ends reminding us the same customary attitude  to contemplate all our agonies and ecstasies reviewing our resolutions made in the beginning of the year and  looking back on months gone by. While it’s no wonder to recall all the  happy times that enriched our lives, realize the fondest dreams which made us recognized, memorize the best rewards  of our deepest and finest feelings and great satisfactions, refresh and revitalize the pleasures with people, material and personal successes on one hand, it becomes, on the other  also inevitable to weigh our ignorance / mistakes to find out the hurdles for unachieved goals, to examine the reasons for failures and to establish the deviations from our promises and commitments so that we can greet the New Year with  a stronger attitude and a better commitment than ever.
Personally admitting, I am too fortunate to have you all with me throughout the year. While there are many reasons to feel proud to be a part of India Post and NFPE, the silence and non-cooperation of such people who could have solved the problems of our Division shocked me a lot. In the trade union field , it is very common to fight with the administration to bring justice for the working class. But as your Secretary, surprisingly, I have to fight with my own union people who instead of realizing my limitations and problems warned me unconstitutionally for my continuous pursuance and reminders.  
For me, 2011 is a year of confusion worst confounded, a period of struggle for the cause of my members without any result. As if, I have burnt my finger between the devil and the deep.
The genuine Divisional issues discussed in the monthly union meetings till April-2011 were played fast and loose. Unlawfully, the Divisional administration restricted sanction of OTA Bills to Rs.2800/- Grade Pay in spite of clear instructions from the Directorate   clarifying no upper pay limit for performing OT duty. The OTA Bills in favour of the SPMs of double handed S Os performing the duty of the PA remaining vacant were not sanctioned deviating instructions of Circle Office. No satisfactory development in expediting the recruitment process of vacant GDS posts were noticed during the year. No police escort was provided for last three years  to the cash van carrying lakhs of rupees daily. The administration did not show any kind of seriousness either towards the lives of the casual drivers and cash overseers or towards the Govt. property when frequent broad-day robberies are  in news  now a days in the capital city of Bhubaneswar. The Divisional administration overlooked the poor maintenance of Cash Van and MMS vehicles with no regular drivers. Even the casual drivers are not being compensated suitably. No progress was seen in dequarterizing the post attached quarters with below schedule of accommodation and in dilapidated condition. No action was taken in preparing fresh MDW of Bhubaneswar GPO. Though problems like provision of police escorts in cash van, dequaterization of post attached quarters, filling up of vacant posts of GDS etc are pending for years together, the Divisional administration completed its responsibility giving the common coded replies viz. “under process”, “being pursued”, “being reminded”, “under correspondence”, etc. which was nothing but just to avoid the genuine problems of the employees on the plea of referring to Circle administration. On one hand, while unrealistic targets were fixed for the SPMs / Postmasters for S B transactions, PLI business and revenue earnings, they were treated like beggars. Forget about leaflets / brochures/ manuals etc., even the SOs/MDGs were not provided with general stock / computer items in time. For printer ribbon, computer paper and such other items one has to attend Divisional Office in person or depute a messenger and receive far below his indented quantity / number. Supply of MPCM/Bar Code sticker, computer paper etc .always remained disproportional to actual consumption. Situation in the Division has now become such that a postmaster has to remain alert 24 x 7 for such minor consumable items, forms  and stationeries. On the other hand , the staff members  were harassed in the name of audit objections. While Leave Reserve junior P As are working  without any disturbance, permanent senior officials are deputed frequently at the sweet will of the administration even with threatening of disciplinary action.  Anything written by me in protest for the benefit of the Division and staff members as a whole was considered personal and I myself also became a victim of such harassment. Though a period of 8 months have been passed in the meantime since we boycott the monthly union meeting in   protest against the  above injustices, the administration did not feel it necessary to intimate us the progress made so far on the pending issues. Perhaps this is a black period in the union history of Bhubaneswar Division.
To fight against the injustices done to the members of Bhubaneswar Division as a whole , the Divisional JCA  of NFPE unions was formed which submitted a joint memorandum accompanied with 10 point charter of demands by the Divisional JCA on 13.04.2011. Subsequently, on 18.04.2011, the SSPOs, Bhubaneswar called the Divisional JCA and after fruitful negotiation, an agreement was signed for timely solution of all the issues. Thereafter, observing no satisfactory development on the agreement dated 18.04.2011 in respect of 10 point charter of demands earlier submitted with a series of trade union activities, the Divisional JCA comprising AIPEU, Group-C, Postmen & MTS and AIPEDEU, Bhubaneswar Division boycotted the monthly union meeting with the administration giving intimation on 03.05.2011. But subsequent programmes as scheduled could not be conducted due to the proposed all India Indefinite Strike commencing 5th July.
In the absence of the struggle programme, I,  being the convener of the Divisional JCA, wrote our Circle Secretary endorsing copy to CHQ and NFPE on items referred to Circle Administration / given to Circle Union since the nature of disposal of  some selected important issues was not known and I was  in dark whether the   issues had been taken for discussion or not at Circle level in any bi-monthly / four-monthly meeting for I was not in receipt of  the copies of  any minutes of such bi-monthly / four-monthly meetings.
Surprisingly, noticing the silence for a longer period to receive suitable reply on the pending issues, I called Divisional Working Committee on 23.10.2011 and discussed the whole issue with  resolution to non-cooperate with the Circle Union till suitable and satisfactory action on all pending issues are taken. Accordingly, when our Circle Secretary was once again requested on 26.10.2011 endorsing copy  to the CHQ and NFPE to have proper regards towards the sentiments of the members of Bhubaneswar Division  and respond immediately, I was warned by him treating the above action as undisciplined. Not only that but during 2011, I have been criticized also for writing openly. I feel, as if maintenance of transparency in a democratic set up is a fault ! My views and suggestions meant for the mass were considered personal and I was grossly misunderstood. Some leaders feel that I am purposefully writing against them which is far from truth. I have also received comments from our own Comrades that I am misusing this platform by writing openly. Endorsing copy to CHQ and NFPE has been considered to be a crime. It has been alleged against me that I am not waiting at all after giving a problem to the Circle Union and immediately endorsing copies to others. Dear Comrades, You will be surprised to know that many items  as briefed above and already brought to the notice of the Circle Union are waiting for a decision from Circle administration not for a week or month but  for  years.
Though along with the Divisional Secretary, AIPEU, Group-C, Bhubaneswar Division I am also the  Asst. Circle Secretary  of AIPEU, Group-C, Odisha Circle, the Circle Secretary warned me without consulting the Circle Union which was not only against democracy but unconstitutional also. Further when my Divisional President represented such irregular activities of the Circle Secretary to the Circle Working Committee through the Circle President , the latter directed my president to appear before the CWC along with me as if, we are criminals  and committed blunders by writing / reminding our problems to the Circle Union under intimation to CHQ / NFPE.
Subsequently, keeping an eye on the forth coming Indefinite Strike commencing 17th January, 2012,  the Divisional JCA reviewed the whole developments till date and decided to thrive first. In the meeting of the Divisional JCA dated 17.12.2011, it was unanimously resolved as follows:
      1.       The Divisional J C A will continue its struggle for justice with request to respective CHQ and NFPE to interfere in the matter.
      2.       The Divisional J C A will organize a combined General Body Meeting at 10.00 hours on 25.12.2011 in the premises of Bhuasuni Temple, Samantarapur, Bhubaneswar – 751 002 with request to all the Circle Secretaries to participate.
      3.       A period of 15 days time will be given to the Circle J C A for suitable settlement of the burning issues of Bhubaneswar Division pending at C O level as already intimated.
      4.       If no decision / satisfactory solution is arrived at on all pending unsettled issues by 09.01.2011 , the Divisional JCA will boycott the Indefinite Strike programme commencing 17th July, 2012.
                But surprisingly, all the three Circle Secretaries of AIPEU, Group-C, Postmen & MTS and AIPEDEU, Odisha Circle arranged an emergent meeting with me and my counterparts of AIPEU, Postmen & MTS and AIPEDEU on 23.12.2011 and tried to convince us to come forward for the forthcoming nationwide indefinite strike programme. I did not get any definite reply from the Circle Secretaries for immediate  redressal of the problems of Bhubaneswar Division they considered to be important. Rather I felt that they tried to make me a cat’s paw. All the three Circle Secretaries were earnestly requested to attend our General Body meeting on 25.12.2011 to assess the temperament of the members. But the three avoided attending the meeting on the plea of pre-occupations. Particularly, our Circle Secretary told that he had a meeting with Divisional Union , Puri on 25.12.2011 for the proposed Study Camp in February, 2012.  However, with our repeated requests to find out immediate solutions to the problems of Bhubaneswar Division, though all the three Circle Secretaries hesitatingly agreed to proceed to the Chief PMG on 28.12.2011, accused us for our inaction in undertaking any exemplary agitational programme in the Division. According to them, it is our Division and we have to do everything for the benefit of the members. They will only extend their support if needed. And now when the strike call has been given by the Central JCA, we have no other way but to obey. However, till now, I have not received any information from the three Circle Secretaries regarding their proposed meet to the Chief PMG, Odisha.
As per the scheduled programme we organized the General Body Meeting on 25.12.2011 successfully. Interestingly, the Divisional Secretary, Puri attended our meeting in Bhubaneswar and reported that their meeting with the Circle Secretary was scheduled for 24.12.2011 which had been over. Since neither any information was received nor anyone attended our meeting, we were confirmed that the P-III Circle Secretary avoided our meeting knowingly telling a lie for the reasons best known to him. A lie which is half truth is ever the blackest of lies.
Last, but not the least, I was surprised to see the JCA Circular dated 23.12.2011of Odisha Circle which contains only the signatures of the Circle Secretaries of P-III, P-IV and GDS from NFPE and FNPO directing to conduct meeting of the Divisional JCA in selected headquarters  on 01.01.2012 in connection with the proposed Indefinite Strike commencing 17th January, 2012. When enquired about the reasons for want the signatures of all other Circle Secretaries from R-III, R-IV, Printing Press, Accounts and Administration in the said circular, the latter expressed their ignorance of issuing such a circular and no satisfactory reply was received from one of the formers. Is the Indefinite Strike a game to be played in the hands of a few? How childish ! Should we understand that there will be no strike and this is just a reminder to the Govt. for which Odisha Circle JCA is taking it very casually?
                I am not at all surprised for an order of the administration which compels me to do things beyond my jurisdiction. Anti-welfare and unjust orders are often seen to be issued and implemented and things are being changed in a different way when we are rapidly proceeding towards corporatization. I have no regret because progress will be made when the old orders are changed yielding place to new. And the administration is quite habitual in getting the work done by hook or crook in the name of transformation. But while under the banner of NFPE, we are rest assured that we will certainly get justice one day or other. But presently, the things are not so. To my utter surprise, some leaders  have now started functioning in a bureaucratic way. As if, they are our bosses and we the members at grass root level are their subordinates. If we raise our voice, we are undisciplined. How disgusting really !
                The administration will make you work unlawfully. The union leaders will maintain bureaucratic attitude and either remain silent or take action against you as administration does. Whom to tell your problems? Really, I find no difference in between the administration and union. As I feel, perhaps the so called leaders have forgotten the fact that a chain is no stronger than its weakest link. In the analogy of charity begins at home they should take care of Odisha Circle in general and Bhubaneswar Division in particular and then think for rest of India. The best prophet of the future is the past. Hope, the leaders without crying in wilderness and beating about the bush would try to realize something on the eve of this New Year.
On this New Year’s Day, recalling Jesus' words from the cross, asking forgiveness for those who put him to death, I think it proper to quote for all such people who are in a wrong path and destroying the unity of the nation as a whole,  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”
Leaders may come. Leaders may go. But Union will be there. Let’s keep the ball rolling and continue our struggle for unity, fraternity, truth and justice.
Wishing a  remembering, prosperous and happy New Year to all of you.

With greetings.
Comradely yours,
Bruhaspati Samal.
Secretary, AIPEU, Gr.-C
Bhubaneswar Division

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