Visit the Past – 2 / Bike Peons and Foot Peons

In Telegraph Offices, there existed two kind of peons who delivered messages to the public. They were 1) Bike peons and 2) Foot peons. The first went on bike (cycles), while the second went on foot. (Later they were called Telegraphmen).
Commission for contracting telephone connection:
Immediately after introduction of telephones in the country in the 1920s,
contractors (agents), who canvassed for providing connections were paid 5% of the amount first paid by the New subscriber!

Visit the Past – 2

In Telegraph Offices, there existed two kind of peons who delivered messages to the public. They were 1) Bike peons and 2) Foot peons. The first went on bike (cycles), while the second went on foot. (Later they were called Telegraphmen).
Commission for contracting telephone connection:
Immediately after introduction of telephones in the country in the 1920s,
contractors (agents), who canvassed for providing connections were paid 5% of the amount first paid by the New subscriber!

DOT issued orders on the full liability of pension of BSNL retirees, rescinding 60% condition.


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After the Cabinet decision on the 78.2% IDA Pension fixation as also pension liability of the government of the BSNL retired pensioners, the DOT has issued a very clear order vide No. 40/2013-Pen(T) dated 20-07-2016 stating that :
(a) The pension liability in respect of employees of DOT/DTS/DTO who retired prior to 01-10-2000 is solely borne by Government of India and the BSNL will have no liability in respect of these employees.
(b) The liability towards pensionary benefits, including family pension to the BSNL employees (excepting those recruited after 01-10-2000), as per sub-rule 22 of Rule 37-A of CCS (Pension)Rules, 1972, lies with the Government of India. The condition that the annual pension liability of the government shall not exceed 60% of the annual receipts to Government from the items specified in the O.M.dated 15-06-2006, is hereby rescinded.
(c) BSNL will continue to discharge pension liability by way of pension contribution in accordance with FR 116.
(Full order published in AIBDPA and BSNLEU websites).

At last, one long pending problem is clearly solved.

Production of VCR stopped – End of another popular gadget


Reports have come in the papers that the production of Video Cassette Recorder(VCR) has been stopped by the remaining production company Funai Electric of Japan.(Courtesy: Business Line)
The production of VCR by the Philips first and then by many other companies in 1970s was a hit with the people. Though the price was high initially (almost the price of a small car), gradually it came lower enabling crores of people to buy and use it. Almost every average home had one.
New technological gadgets like DVD, smart phones etc. have made the VCR obsolete to a certain extent. Finding that it is not at all profitable, all the companies have stopped its production.However, many household will continue to use the same for some more time.

Farewell to the well used VCR!




(Posts and Telegraphs in India dates back more than two and half centuries. TU movement in P and T is more than one century old. We do not have all the records of the glorious past of the P and T and the TU movement. While going through the available old records, there emerges certain interesting information, which our comrades and friends may like to read. Such information is being published in this column. Knowing the past will enable a person to face the future with more confidence. Same with trade union workers also.) Some interesting information of the early decades of last century is given here:

Qualifications required for Indian, but not for British.
Indians being recruited for posts like Telegraphist, Telephone Operators are required to have I.Sc qualification. But no requirement of qualifications for the British applicants! The fact that they are British was sufficient. Interesting!

Transfers all over India
Telegraphists were transferred from one end to the other end of the country. In 1925, many from Bengal were transferred to Punjab. How low paid workers can face these transfers? It was the same in Railways also.

Few meritorious officials were honoured with status awards like OBE, Rai Bahadur, Khan Bahadur, Khan Sahib etc. No financial benefit.

Telephone Operators
Women Telegraphists and Telephone Operators were not allowed to marry. ’No Marriage’ condition. If they marry, they will have to resign from service. Telephone Operators were treated as non –pensionable service at first.

Change of Name
Officials were allowed to change name, which will be published in the DG P&T Circulars. An example: “ Lineman Kannan Nair of Bangalore Division will henceforth be known as A.K.Kannan”.
“Lineman Shervaz of Lahore Division will henceforth known as Mohammed Sadiq’”

Union journals published birth , marriage and death
About half a page was almost allotted for ‘birth, marriage and death’ column in ‘Telegraph Recorder,’ published by Henry Barton, General Secretary of Indian Telegraph Association (ITA). A few examples are given:
“Birth – On 15th November 1924, at the Maternity Hospital Madras to Mrs. Hogg, wife of H.C.Hogg, a bonnie daughter”
“Marriage – St. George Church Agra, on Saturday, the 27th December 1924, Joseph Edward Hopkins to Ida Blanche Adams”
“Death – Constance Mercy, the beloved daughter of N.A.Brown(Associate) aged one year and 7 months. Deeply mourned by sorrowful parents and relations”
Some times reports were also published about “Tennis at Home”, Charity matters, Dance programme etc. which were participated by the employees.
It can be seen that these were part of the system in Britain, which percolated to India. At that time India was under British rule. (to be continued)

Memory of Telegraphs

I am reproducing write up I posted in the blog three years back when Telegraphs were being closed forever.

“I express my strong protest against the decision of BSNL to close the telegram services. BSNL has issued orders stating that the telegram services will be closed with effect from 15th July 2013.

This decision has been taken by the management without discussing with the recognised unions. Telegraph Services were started in India by the British in 1850. On 5th November, the first message went between Diamond harbour and Calcutta.First it was only for use of the government and later extended to the people. Telegraph was the fastest mode of communications till the telephones services started in the 1930s. Still telegraphs continued as a major method of communication.

The Central Telegraph Offices in Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Madras etc. employed hundreds of Telegraphists, Telegraph Clerks and Telgraphmen on duty round the clock. It was not much different in other cities. The cut-cut-cud-cut of the telegraph machines filled the Instrument Rooms. The traffic was so busy that sometimes the staff have to forego even tea-break.

Of course, everything has changed. The Telegraph Services have been stopped from 15th July 2013, despiote the strong protest of the unions.”

Later on our demand, a Museum of Telegraphs has been opened for the future generations to see.

NITI Ayog denies having recommended strategic sale of BSNL and MTNL



The strong protest from the unions/associations of employees, Pensioners and contract workers in BSNL/MTNL have compelled the NITI Ayog to take a U turn in the matter of strategic sale of these two telecom PSUs.

It has issued a statement stating that it has not taken any such decisions. The extract of the statement as reported in the press is given below:

“Denying media reports of strategic disinvestment in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), Niti Aayog on Wednesday said that the reports are incorrect.

“A section of the press has carried a news report that Niti Aayog may consider strategic sale in BSNL and MTNL,” Niti Aayog stated in a release.

“There is no such proposal with Niti Aayog and the report is factually incorrect,” it added.

According to media reports, the government was considering strategic sale in the telecom majors to revive its growth.” (Courtesy:The Statesman)

This is a big success of the unity of the BSNL and MTNL workers! But workers have to be alert to any further move from the government in this matter.


Recovery notice to 6 private telecom companies for under-reporting of revenues

After much hesitation, the DOT has issued notices to all the six major private telecom companies viz. Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone, Idea, Tata and Aircel, all of which has under valued their revenues to reduce payment of taxes on revenue sharing basis to a total of about Rs.46,045. 75 crore. As the first step Rs. 100 crore demand notice is issued as the first installment of recovery.

The government should act immediately to completely recover the dues.

8,100 wilful defaulters of loan taken – Rs. 76,685 crore


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According to the statement of Finance Minister Srun Jaitely in the Parliament on 19th July, there are 8,100 wilful defaulters who owe the banks about Rs. 76,685 crore. He also stated that 1,724 FIRs have been filed in his connection.

The number of wilful defaulters is much more than this according to the bank employees unions. The government seems to be covering up the high valued borrowers since they have got connection with political bosses. Even the FIR filed is much less compared to the number of defaulters.

We demand early action to recover the money of the banks, which actually is the hard earned deposits of the ordinary customers.



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BSNL has always been a target of both the UPA and NDA governments to be attacked and finished. BSNL was formed as a PSU with the intention of privatising after some time. As all know, telecom sector with its huge profit, has always been a paradise for the corporates, Indian and foreign. BSNL stands as a challenge to these corporates for minting unlimited profits. The government company had to be either killed or gradually privatised through disinvestment. In order to achieve this, BSNL has to be discredited, made loss making so that there will be on reaction from the public. The continuous growth of BSNL for the first five years was a shock to the government as well as the corporates. The move of the government to reduce the number of employees through VRS was defeated by the complete strike and sustained struggles of the workers who stood together like a rock. Move to disinvest was also defeated in the same way.

It is at this time that the government intervened and cut the entire equipment procure programme of BSNL, not once but thrice. It was just like sending an army in the forward area without arms and ammunition. Only through a magnificient strike, the damage could be lessened, which at least allowed the company to move slowly forward.

The posting of loss for the last four years encouraged the government to bring their long pending agenda of privatisation to the forefront. The proposal of NITI Ayog for strategic sale of BSNL and MTNL is nothing but handing over the companies to the corporates for garnering huge profits and grab the lakhs of acres of land in the centre of towns. People know how Maruti, the country’s prestigious company, was transferred to Japan’s Suzuki. People know how VSNL, another telecom company was handed over to Tata for a pittance.

The NITI Ayog’s present recommendation is a jerk action, seeing that BSNL is being revived after the joint efforts of the management and the workers under the leadership of Forum of BSNL Unions/ Associations. ‘Customer Delight Year’, ‘Service With A Smile’, ‘Free Night Call’ and such other programmes have improved both service and the financial position. There is an operational profit of about Rs. 2,000 crore this year and there may be real profit from next year. In such a situation, the government will not be able to implement its sinister schemes. Hence the government’s urgency to move with lightning speed for strategic sale.

The workers of BSNL will never allow a VSNL in BSNL. BSNL is their bread and butter. More than that, it is the pride and glory of the country, which served them dedicatedly and sincerely for the last one and half century with out fail. The telecom workers have a glorious past of fighting against wrong polices of the government. They will march ahead in this struggle path with maximum unity and determination.

We call upon all the Unions and Associations in BSNL to close their ranks immediately and come together under the Forum of BSNL Unions and Association to fight and defeat the sinister move of the government to kill BSNL and MTNL. The internal and other differences have to be kept aside at this crucial juncture. It is just like a national emergency for the BSNL and MTNL employees.

Remember how the private management of VSNL, ITDC Hotels, BALCO etc. after privatisation, retrenched the women workers, SC/ST employees and then more than half of the employees on one pretext or other, pushing them to the crowd of the crores of unemployed in the country. Some of them even committed suicide without finding themselves unable to maintain their families. All the assurances were broken and the workers were thrown to the steets.

Do we in BSNL want such a situation? NO! We will fight and defeat the  ugly monsters who wants us to be thrown to the streets. Let each and every worker come under the mighty Forum to save BSNL and save their own future!







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