COVID – 19. Senior Citizens should take care

In all the countries so far affected by COVID-19, more casualties are aged people, since they are comparatively weak and is prone to illness. Under this situation, they are to fully observe the Lock Down and stay at home. Light exercises, rest, timely food, reading, writing, seeing TV etc as also contacting friends and relatives over phone, visiting face book, whats-app etc. will fill the time and keep energy. One should not allow anxiety, dismay etc. to take over them.

We shall pass this crisis and reach normalcy.

Funds released by DOT for payment of Ex-gratia to BSNL VRS retirees.

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After much delay, DOT has released the funds for payment of first installment of Exgratia amount to VRS retirees in BSNL, coming to Rs. 4,156 crore. According to the order dated 26th March, the payment is to be made within 21 days and that this fund can not be used for any other purpose.
In the present circumstances of COVID-19, maximum efforts on the part of BSNL is required to ensure that the payment is made in time.

Centre announces Rs. 1.7 lakh crore Corona Relief Package.

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Happy that Centre has at last announced a Relief Package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore in view of COVID-19.
But compare it with Rs. 8 lakh crore NPA written off for corporates and Rs. One lakh crore concessions being given to private telecom companies on AGR despite Court warning.

COVID – 19. Centre should fund BSNL immediately.

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The Nation is making all preparations to face COVID-19 and 21 days Lock Down has been declared by the central government. Government has advised people to stay at home. Now people will be using mobile, phone etc. in a large way to get the information and to contact their near and dear ones. Most of the govt employees and others are working from home.

In this situation, BSNL has the scope to increase its subscribers and also to improve the facilities. Govt should allocate funds, allot 4G Spectrum and plan future activities with the unions and associations, so that better and more efficient service can be given and also expanded.

COVID – 19. Central govt calls for 21 days Lock Down.

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The Central government has ordered for 21 days complete Lock Down from 25th March till 14th April 2020 to face the COVID-19, which has entered India also. Almost all the countries in the world are attacked by the Coronavirus. Major European countries are reeling under the attack. Already more than 19,000 people have died. In India also many have died. Lakhs of people are under observation in the various hospitals and at homes also.

It is under this serious situation that the 21 days Lock Down has been declared. Along with that, arrangements should be made for the people to get essential items to sustain their day to day life. Medical facilities should be sufficient. People and workers who manage their day to day life from hand to mouth should be given free ration and other help. It seems that the Rs 15,000 crore package will be insufficient. It should be increased.

 

 

Remembering Com. K.T.Muhammed on his 12th death anniversary ( 29th Sept 1927 – 12th March 2008)

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25th March 2020 is the 12th death anniversary of Com.K.T.Muhammed, Bhishmapithamaha or Nataka Kulapathy of drama writers / artists of Kerala. He has written about 40 dramas, including ‘Ithu Bhumiyanu’ (‘This is the earth’), ‘Kandam Becha Kottu'(‘Coat with stitched parts’)etc. He has also written screen plays for a lot of Films. He had his own drama team and club. He was honoured with many awards including Kerala State Film Award for best screen play.

Com. K.T. was an employee of the Posts and Telegraph Department. He first worked as an ED Packer and after passing examinations was promoted to Postmen and then to Postal Clerk. He was very active in the union and participated in all the strikes and struggles organised in P and T. He was suspended for his leading role in the Token Strike of 19th September 1968. He resigned protesting against the anti-worker victimization imposed on the strikers by the government and merged fully himself in writing drama and other cultural activities. But he continued his connection with the P and T Movement and his erstwhile comrades till the last.

I had the fortune to work in the union along with him. Many times visited his drama club. Even when functioning at Delhi, while visiting Kozhikode, I met him more than once at his residence along with late Com. K.Rajan, who was the Convener of the Co-ordinating Committee at that time. Once I gave him a copy of the one page article about him published in the journal of the Postal Union at the time when he was given an International Short Story Award award for his short story ” Kannukal ” (‘The Eyes’) in 1952.
There is a big Statue of Com. K.T.Muhammed installed in his honour in the centre of the Kozhikode Town. But by oversight or so, the name and other particulars are not noted on the statue. We hope the Corporation of Kozhikode will certainly fulfill its responsibility at the earliest.

Red Salute to Com.K.T.Muhammed!

Pay wages of BSNL contract workers with arrears

After implementation of VRS for 78569 employees by BSNL, the PSU has made good savings monthly. The salaries of February 2020 which was in pending for the employees will be shortly paid and by next month, the salary will be paid in time as per management’s statement. Well and good!

What about the wags of the contract workers which have not been paid for the last one year ? 10 workers have committed suicide unable to bear the pain of seeing their families starved. We demand the management that now the position of BSNL is improving, do not delay the payment of wages to the workers. The one year wages be paid at the earliest.

Corporate Office issues fresh instructions to tackle the situation that has arisen due to COVID-19

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The BSNL Corporate Office has issued emergency instructions to tackle the situation that has arisen due to COVID-19. The highlights of these instructions are as follows:-

A control room is formed at Corporate Office with five senior level officers. Similar control rooms are to be opened in all circles.
Telecommunications being an essential service, telephone Exchanges, OFC networks, BTSs, BFC, MSC, DSAMs and OLTs, MPLS, etc., are to be maintained.
Staff on emergency duty should be provided with masks and sanitisers. Proper arrangement for water and soap should be made in all buildings.
In cities where lockdown is ordered, CSCs need not be operated.
In all other cities also, customers visiting CSCs are to be discouraged. Skeleton staff to be followed. Customers are to be encouraged for online payments.
Contingency fund is released to the circles. CGMs are empowered to utilise them.

BSNLEU appreciates the Corporate Management for issuing proper instructions to ensure maintenance of BSNL’s services and also safety of the employees. All circle and district unions are requested to ensure implementation of these instructions fully. CHQ also requests all the leaders and comrades to ensure that maintenance of our networks and provisioning of BSNL’s services are carried out effectively.
(BSNLEU Website)

Public Sector always there to help you in distress

It is only Air India, PSU airline, available for the Indians in other countries to come back when COVID-19 has spread to countries one after another. It  is only BSNL to connect the country when natural disasters take place. It is only LIC, the PSU Insurance company, whenever the govt wants to invest in some PSU –

The Modi Government should understand its foolishness in privatising and closing PSUs which are the assets of the people.

Remembering Com. A.K.G., the Commander of the Downtrodden.

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22nd March 2020, is the 43rd death anniversary of Comrade A.K.Gopalan, veteran working class leader, PBM, CPI(M) and the first Opposition (Group) Leader in the Indian Parliament. He died on 22nd March 1977 after a long illness.

Com. AKG, as he is popularly called was an indomitable fighter of the working class and toiling masses. His entire life was full of struggles for the downtrodden people. He was arrested and put in jail many times both by the British as well as the Indian rulers. Com.AKG, who was in the forefront of the Independence struggle was in Cannanore Central Jail even on 15th August 1947, on the day India got Independence, even though almost all the freedom fighters who were in jail were released.

Comrade AKG could not tolerate injustice. Wherever and whenever he saw injustice, he jumped in to the struggle against the onslaught. There are any number of such struggles which AKG led and succeeded. It was the three great leaders, Coms. P.Krishna Pillai, E.M.S.Namboodiripad and AKG who built and strengthened the Communist Party in Kerala.

I had the opportunity to meet Comrade AKG several times and seek his guidance. During many of his visits to Calicut along with his wife, Com. Susheela Gopalan, who herself was a senior leader, Member of Parliament and later Minister in Kerala, I had the fortune to receive them at the Railway Station and to bring them to the house where they were to stay. One such time, AKG was ill and for many weeks he was not able to speak due to illness. Myself along with Com. M.Balasubramanian, the Dist. Secretary E.III Union, went to the Railway station and took him to the house of Advocate P.K.Kunhirama Poduval where they used to stay. After reaching Calicut, two senior doctors, Dr.CBC Warrier and Dr. N.S.Venugopalan checked him and stated that he was better. In fact AKG was able to speak bit by bit. That day the Confederation of Central Government Employees, of which I was the convener, had arranged a meeting in the Mudalakkulam maidan in connection with an All India strike next day. I very meekly asked the doctors whether I can request AKG to address the strike meeting. AKG immediately agreed and the doctors consented provided he would not speak more than five minutes. AKG agreed to the condition and it was decided that he will address the meeting.

The news that Com.AKG will address the meeting in the evening of the day spread like wildfire. Irrespective of party affiliation, people in thousands gathered at the maidan to hear Com.AKG, his first speech after several weeks. The meeting started in time and after welcome etc. Com.AKG was requested to address. He started speaking and the audience sat in pin-drop silence to hear their beloved leader. The stipulated period of five minutes was over, but he continued speaking. Then Com.Suseela Gopalan, who was also on the stage, reminded him the doctors’ advice. He laughed away the request, openly telling the public that he knew when to stop. All were very much worried. Then Com. M.K.Kelu (Keluettan), one of the senior most leader of the CPI(M) who was also present, openly requested him to stop his speech considering his health. The audience also in one voice supported the request. Then and then only, AKG stopped his speech, thanked all and sat down. Such was his love for the people who even in the face of severe illness could not stop interacting with them.

I remember another incident which again shows the tenacity of Com. AKG in fighting against all attacks on the working class. It was during the 1974 Railway Strike demanding Bonus. The strike was to start from 8th May but due to mass arrest of the leaders and workers and victimisation, it started two days earlier. The Central government met the strike with utmost cruelty and vengeance. Tens of thousands of workers were arrested and jailed. Railway Quarters were searched and even the family members were beaten and harassed not finding the striking workers. In many staff quarters water connection, electricity connection etc. were cut. In Calicut, the procession organized in support of the strike was attacked and people beaten and two news paper reporters also badly beaten and hospitalised. It was terror unleashed for the railway workers and their families.

It was at this time that Com. AKG along with Com. Suseela Gopalan arrived at Calicut. He was not at all well and the doctors advised complete rest. When I reported to him about the serious situation, he wanted to go to the railway quarters immediately. Though we tried to stop him going, he was adamant. We started for the Railway Colony. He stepped out from the car at the entry to the colony and told that we will walk. Com.A.Kunhiraman Nair, veteran NGO Union leader and some other comrades also reached by the time. We were about 6-7 people and led by Coms AKG and Suseela we started slowly walking in to the colony through the small road. Women and children who were alone in the houses saw AKG and started joining us. Within a few minutes, it became a jatha and culminated in the school premises inside the colony. By the time, police also came to the spot. Party comrades also reached. A loudspeaker was brought and Com.AKG started speaking. One police official, without knowing who it was speaking, came forward and threatened to arrest. AKG told him that ‘I am AKG and you can arrest me’. The poor policeman was dumbfounded and became silent. By that time, senior police officers came and the situation became normal. AKG spoke consoling the families of Railwaymen and told that nothing will happen to them, and also warned the police officers that he will come and sit there in dharna if the harassment continues. Within a few minutes the meeting was over after Com. Suseela Gopalan also addressed.After this incident, there was a halt to the harassment of the families in the colony.

It was his forceful speech along with that of Comrade Nath Pai and other opposition leaders in the Parliament against the victimisation of Central Government employees who participated in the historic July 1960 strike that compelled the Jawaharlal Nehru government to take back all the thousands of workers who were dismissed or suspended. It was the same in the case of the 1968 Strike victimisation. For vacating the victimisation, he fought inside and outside the Parliament, even attending many meetings in Kerala.

In all Indian Coffee Houses through out India, one can see the photo of Com. A.K.G. placed in a most prominent place inside, as a token of respect and thanks to the great leader who saved the Indian Coffee Houses and its workers, when the Govt decided to close them. Com. A.K.G. discussed with the Government and all these Coffee Houses were handed over to the co-operatives formed by the workers.

Com.AKG was one of the senior CPI(M) leaders who was not arrested and jailed during Emergency, being very sick. When he came to Calicut during the period myself and Com. N.Ramesh, then Divl. Secretary of E.III Union went to meet him. He was very tired and sick, but asked about the situation in Calicut. When we were returning, he told us ” your job is not to get arrested, but to continue the resistance work against the Emergency and safeguard your workers.” Probably he might have been hinting at my being taken in to custody by Special Branch and questioned for hours a few days back.

He was sick and was under treatment for many months. During this period Com. T.K.Karunan, then leader of Kozhikode Municipal Corporation Workers , came to my rented line house near Sreekandeswara Kshetram and handed over a letter stating that he had gone to meet AKG at Alappuzha hearing that he was not well. He told that Com.AKG was always his beloved leader,despite political difference. The letter was in the handwriting of Com. Suseela and signed by AKG. Whatever he commanded, was done immediately.

Com. AKG died on 22nd March 1977. The Congress party was rooted out in the election, but probably he might not have known the same as he was in coma. The news of the death of the dear leader was a shock to all. His body was brought to his home place in Kannur District. Through out the way in all district headquarters, thousands of people came to pay homage to their departed leader. The condolence meeting held at Kalliasseri was attended by more than ten thousand people. Along with some comrades, we also went there. Almost all the PB members were present. While speaking, Coms. E.K.Nayanar and Mrs. Kamalam broke in to tears and wept due to emotion and memories. Such was the close relation of Com. AKG to all whom he met.Every one who met him even once had the feeling that he specially cared for him. All those who came in contact will have many such incidents to remember. He was very close to all and was loved by all.

A.K.G.Bhawan in New Delhi, the Central Committee office of CPI(M), A.K.G.Centre, the State Committee office of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram and many party offices are named in honour of Com. A.K.G. I used to visit 4, Ashoka Road, New Delhi, where he stayed for many years as Member of Parliament, even after his departure, as it was there where many of us met him and presented our problems and difficulties for being taken in the Parliament. Still the name of 4, Ashoka Road brings many memories, though the bungalow has been vacated by CPI(M) after the elections in 1914. In fact, the govt should have maintained it as a memorial to AKG, a long time Opposition Leader of the Parliament.

BSNL Employees Union was formed on 22nd March 2001, on the 24th death anniversary of Com. A.K.G. It was not accidental, but a conscious decision.

My respectful homage to the memory of this great revolutionary and working class leader on his 43rd death anniversary!

RED SALUTE TO COM. AKG, COMMANDER OF THE PROLETARIAT!