Oppose FCI Privatisation

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Food Corporation of India (FCI) was formed in 1965 as a Public Sector for proper collection and distribution of food grains to the people, especially in the rural areas. It collects the grains from the surplus states, stores it and distributes to the required places. This was being efficiently done till a few years back. Major wheat producers are Punjab and Haryana and rice producers are A.P. and W.Bengal. The grains are procured from these states and distributed to other states. This is the responsibility of the Central Government and FCI is the distribution agency.

Now the NDA government is on the move to privatise FCI. First bifurcate in to three separate units and then gradually privatise. Such a decision will be harmful to the people since the private companies are only interested in increasing their profit and not the benefit to the people.

The Unions in the FCI have strongly protested the privatisation move. We fully support and extend our solidarity to the struggle of the FCI workers to save FCI and the people.

Kashmir struggling to recover

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After a long period I got a call from Com.Nisar Ahmad, Circle Secretary BSNLEU, J and K today. I have been trying to contact him for many days. He narrated in brief what has happened and what is happening in Srinagar and other parts of Jammu and Kashmir. It is total devastation. It is the Army and the youth who have been in the forefront of saving the people from the floods.
Almost everybody in Srinagar has been affected. The houses of Coms. Nisar Ahmed, Bashir Khan and all of our BSNL employees have been affected as all the people have been affected. The government offices were all under water as also hospitals.
After the water has started receding, the rehabilitation work has started. But it will take a long time for recovery. Help from all quarters is required.
The Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations had called upon the BSNL employees to donate one day basic salary to the J and K Fund and requested the BSNL Management to deduct it from the salary of September, payable in October 2014. Forum has also demanded the management to immediately arrange advance of one month salary to the affected J and K BSNL Employees.
Let us all do our maximum to assist the J and K people in their time of disaster and difficulties.

BSNL completing 14 – What is her future?

By this October 1st BSNL will be completing 14 years. After born on 1st October 2000, the baby was healthy and was growing fast for the first few years. She was getting healthy and hygienic food and she grew.
But her good growth was not appreciated by her parent, the government, who already had a second young wife, the private companies. The father was dancing to the tunes of the stepmother and started neglecting the daughter. The stepmother harassed and victimised her.
She is now 14. She wants to grow, but there are many obstacles. But she is determined to grow and there are thousands and thousands who wish for her good health.
Give all support and Solidarity to BSNL to grow and be leader of the telecom services in India.

REVIVAL OF BSNL – PROPOSED MEASURES BY DOT

I am giving below a report published in the “Economic Times”.

Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has exhorted the finance ministry to hasten a pending Rs 7,000-crore income tax refund to Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) in a bid to revive the struggling state-run telecom company before its proposed merger with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) next year.

In parallel, the Telecom Commission (TC) is taking steps to arrange an early Rs 6,794 crore refund for BSNL’s surrendered 4G airwaves coupled along with a waiver of microwave charges incurred annually by the state-run telco. At present, BSNL shells out nearly Rs 100 crore as royalty annually to DoT’s wireless planning cell (WPC) to provide microwave connectivity across the Northeast. TC is the highest decision making body in the DoT.

These revival measures were finalised at a recent BSNL review meeting chaired by telecom secretary Rakesh Garg, according to an internal DoT note seen by ET. “Reviving BSNL is DoT’s principal intent in the run-up to any merger discussions,” said a top department official who was present in this meeting.

DoT is known to be considering either de-listing state-run MTNL and then merging it into BSNL or listing the latter and finalising a merger swap ratio based on the valuation of the two state-run telecom companies, with the first being the more likely option.

In the immediate term, Garg has asked member (finance) in the Telecom Commission to clear the refund of BSNL’s licence fees and spectrum usage charges relating to its surrendered 4G airwaves at the earliest since the telco has only been refunded Rs 100 crore in 2014-15. This is after BSNL Chairman & Managing Director AN Rai, who was present at the review meeting, said the “refund was pending despite Cabinet approval earlier this year.”

The Cabinet had cleared a refund upwards of Rs 11,000 crore for BSNL and MTNL for their surrendered broadband wireless access (BWA 4G) spectrum. BSNL has relinquished its 4G airwaves in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kolkata, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

DoT is also exploring ways to boost BSNL’s revenue flows by leasing its countrywide tower assets. BSNL has 73,000 towers and currently earns a modest Rs 98 crore annually by leasing merely 3000 units. The revenue target for the next five years has been increased to Rs 1600 crore by leasing a larger proportion of its towers.

The government is trying to revive BSNL at time when the telco needs cash to upgrade its landline network. Over the next two years, plans are afoot to convert over 1 lakh BSNL landline exchanges into IP-enabled next-gen variants to support high-speed broadband services. The thrust on wired broadband is aimed at leveraging BSNL’s landline assets to boost data services, and in turn, offset a portion of the losses suffered by its landline business.

BSNL has been losing 1.4 lakh wireline customers every month. So much so, its landline customer base — now roughly 18.2 million – has shrunk by 40% over the past decade. (E.T)

Kashmir Rehabilitation most crucial and urgent

The flood in J and K is receding but the situation continues to be most serious. Some of the hospitals in Srinagar are still under water.
Today I was able to contact Com.A.R.Tak, our former Circle Secretary, who stays outside Srinagar. He said that the houses of our comrades in Srinagar, including that of Circle Secretary Com.Nisar Ahmad, District Secretary Com. Bashir Khan are all submerged. They are not available on phone also. I tried several times but could not contact our comrades.
Almost all govt. offices are still out of   function. The rehabilitation programmes continue.
It is the time to help the people of Kashmir. Implement the decision of Forum by contributing one day basic salary to the J and K Relief. Forum has also demanded BSNL Management to immediately pay one month advance pay to the suffering employees.

Communication Minister on BSNL Revival

It is reported that Communications Minister is moving to return Rs.7000 crores of  Tax to BSNL remitted by the latter to the government. It is also stated that DOT has been asked to refund the Rs.6794  crores to BSNL for the spectrum returned.
If the report is correct it is a good decision. The Forum of BSNL Unions/ Associations has been continuously demanding that the government refund these amounts, but there has been no response so far.
In this connection an amount of Rs.1250 crore from the USOF which has already been approved for 2013-14 should be also paid immediately.

Karnataka Circle on the Forward March

Karnataka Circle is one of the BSNLEU circles which has grown continuously through out the years both in quantity and quality. It has got around 9,000 members and has a militant leadership with Com. C.K.Gundanna, Circle Secretary at the helm.
The Circle Conference of Karnataka Circle is being held today and tomorrow, 19th and 20th September 2014 at Madikeri the beautiful hill station.
The Open Session was presided by BP Narayan. It was inaugurated by Com.P.Abhimanyu GS BSNLEU. Com. V.A.N.Namboodiri, President BSNLEU, Shri RK Mishrs,GM KODAGU, M.C.Balakrishna, All India Org.Secretary and other leaders spoke. Com.CK Gundanna, Circle Secretary welcomed.; Chairman Reception Committee, Shri Chidvilas gave the welcome speech.
More than 500 attended the open session. The conference hall was named after late Com.P.Mukundan, the dedicated BSNLEU leader who passed away recently.
Leaders of sister unions SNEA, AIBSNLEA, SEWA BSNL,AIGETOA also addressed.
The Delegates Session has started in the afternoon. All arrangements for the conference has been made by the Reception Committee under the leadership of Madikeri Coms.GG Naik and VV Antony, President and Dist. Secretary respectively.

19 September 1968 Strike

The experience of the Historic Five Days Strike, which started on 19th September 1968 has taught me a lot of lessons. The demands of the central government employees, how cruelly the government deals with its own employees, the unity and sacrifices of leaders and workers, the committment to the cause and determination to face any eventuality – these are all the experiences which made me to be a union activist.
Struggle for Unity, Unity for Struggle and Struggle & Unity for Progress has been our slogan in the Forward March.

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