Though postcards were experimented in 1840 and later introduced as a cheap communication, it reached in British India in 1879 only. It is recorded that the postcard was introduced on 1st July 1879. The price was 1/4 anna ( 1/64 part of a rupee). This was largely used by the common people due to its cheapness. Even after about 134 years, the price has not increased much. At present the price is only 50 paise ( 1/2 Rupee). The interesting fact is that the Department of Posts is losing almost Rs. 1.50 for each card posted, including the cost of the card, taking it from the post-box, conveying it to the destination Post office and also delivering it to the addressee. Now the Department of Posts have started advertisement on the cards to reduce the loss.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will take over the operation of the 23 km metro link to Airport from Reliance, which has gone back from the agreement to operate the services on the plea of operational loss. Reliance has been operating the services.
One fact has become very clear. It is only profit that the private companies are interested ; not the convenience of the people or service. When it is profit, they are there. The moment it posts loss, they drop it and go away putting the people in trouble. The government should penalise Reliance for the withdrawal and failure to honour the agreement.
In the case of allotment of spectrum, the government discriminated BSNL in more than one way.
- The 3G Spectrum was allotted to private companies through auction circle by circle, which helped them to select the circle of their choice and bid. Thus they reduced the charges to be paid to the government. In the case of BSNL, it was not allowed to bid for any circle, but was compelled to pay charges for all the circles at the highest bid in each circle.
- Though the private companies like Airtel, Reliance, Vodafone etc. did bid for only few circles each, by an agreement/understanding they started providing 3G services in all the circles, without licence. Thus by paying a small amount for spectrum, they provided services through out the country. BSNL had to pay for all circles.
- In the case of BWA spectrum, private companies were allotted better spectrum which was suitable for latest and future technologies like Long Term Evolution(LTE), TDD etc. But in the case of BSNL a lower spectrum was allotted which was not suited to LTE, TDD and other advanced technologies. This discrimination compelled BSNL to surrender BWA spectrum, except in four circles. BSNL has paid a whooping Rs. 8,313 crores for BWA spectrum. At least Rs. 7,000 crore is to be paid back to BSNL for the surrendered spectrum. While the government is negotiating with Vodafone for reducing its due tax of Rs.. 14,000 crore to help the MNC, it has no time to refund the money for the surrendered spectrum to BSNL.
In fact, being a government company, BSNL should be exempted from paying the spectrum charges. BSNL was compelled to pay Rs. 18,500 crores to government together for 3G and BWA Spectrum, thus taking away all the cash reserves of the PSU. This full amount should be refunded to BSNL to help it to continue its expansion and development.
It is a welcome news. The staff of the Greek TV channel, which was closed by the government in implementation of austerity measures is still functioning uninterrupted. Though the government had closed, the employees of the company have decided to run the show. The TV channel functions as usual. The employees with more commitment continues working. This is a wonderful news! A report from Athens by news agency AFP is given below. Our congratulations to the workers who stood strong and defended their organisation:
” Athens, Jun 30 Since Greece’s government abruptly pulled the plug on state broadcaster ERT, the sprawling TV complex has turned into a unique experiment in self-rule where staff are working for free but with more passion than ever. Under pressure from its international creditors to cut costs and reform the public sector, Greece’s fragile government shut down ERT and made its 2,700 employees redundant overnight. Many will not return when a slimmed-down version of the broadcaster, which the government agreed to following a public outcry, eventually goes back on air. But in the meantime, employees are going it alone and revelling in the spirit of independence and solidarity filling the studios and busy corridors of ERT’s headquarters in suburban Athens. “There is continuous flow from the entire team here, and an emotional contribution from all,” Fanis Papathanassiou, an ERT foreign affairs journalist and anchorman said. “Not just journalists but producers, editors, assistants, technicians, makeup staff: everyone is here, helping to put this product on the air,” he told AFP. News bulletins are on at an unchanged pace of five times daily and the intervening hours are filled with guest interviews, documentaries and support concerts by a variety of artists. The building is clean — cleaner than before, staff note — the control room is bustling and staff take turns at the entrance to guard what the government calls an unlawful “occupation” of public property. “We call this operational self-management,” Papathanassiou countered. A committee of journalists oversees day-to-day business, from assigning shifts, to preparing newscasts and inviting talk show guests. Rogue ERT broadcasts have continued with support from the European Broadcasting Union despite a digital blackout on ERT’s frequencies by the government. “For the past 18 days, we have shown what public radio and television is all about,” said Chryssa Roumeliotis, a political journalist and news presenter. On June 11, police were dispatched to Mount Hymettus above Athens to silence ERT’s signal after the government enacted an emergency law to shut down the company. The conservative-led government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said it was the only way to reform ERT after successive efforts had been thwarted by the company’s powerful union.
The Bank Employees Unions have demanded for early wage agreement with effect from 01-01-2012 as per the five-year agreement. Their wages were revised in 2007 with 17.5 % raise. The Bank Unions are also demanding that the DA increase should be on month to month basis, since the price of essential commodities are rising every month.
The 11 Central trade Unions which called for the 48 hours strike focussing the 10 demands they have raised have written to the Prime Minister on 23rd May 2013 seeking his intervention for settling the issues raised by them.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Defence Minister A.K.Antony, met with the Central Trade Union leaders on 22nd May, in which the leaders focussed the main issues of the strike as also pointed out in the 45th Session of the Indian Labour Conference (ILC) in which the Prime Minister was also present.
In the letter to PM, the CTUs stated:
” On being urged by the Central Trade Unions for concrete response on some of the demands like Minimum Wages of not less than Rs. 10,000, universal social security cover to all workers, assured pension for the entire working population, same wage for same work as regular workers for the contract workers in the respective ministry/establishments, concrete programmes for implementation of labour laws etc. Chairman of the meeting conveyed on behalf of the Group of Ministers that some time is needed for internal discussion and hey will revert back to the trade unions shortly within a month’s time.
“We like to impress upon you that all Central Trade Unions in the country have been jointly pressing for these demands in the last three years or so through numerous memorandums and various programmes observed jointly throughout the country.
“In the context of the step for bipartite discussion with the Central Trade Unions already initiated by you, we urge upon your effective intervention so that these long pending just demands of the workers are sorted out through dialogue with the forum constituted by you within a month’s time as urged upon by the concerned GoM, in the interests of the working people and the nation.”
While the central government is very quick to resolve even the unjustified demands of the corporates by modifying the Tax rules, why it is taking so much time for settling the just demands of the working class raised by them and on which about 12crores workers have gone on strike for 48 hours?
It has been reported in the press that the Defence Forces are having difficulty due to the non-roll-out of the OFC network, which has been entrusted to DOT, who in turn has allotted the project to BSNL. It was to have been completed by now, for compensating for the release of important spectrum by the Defence to DOT.
BSNL is reported to have floated tender for the OFC in 2010 which was cancelled. Another tender in 2012 was also cancelled. The result is that the network is not rolled out so far.
It is necessary to find out why this important work is not done and who is responsible. The report puts the blame on BSNL. But what is the reason is to be found out. Further the BSNL Management should take immediate action for finalising the same, since it is concerned with Defence.
Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations has written to CMD BSNL with copy to Secretary DOT in the matter.
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly opposes the Cabinet decision to double the price of natural gas, a major input for the production of fertilizers and power, from 4.2 dollars to 8 dollars per mmbtu. This will have a cascading impact increasing prices and burdening common people, while the main benefit will accrue to a single corporate house.
Reliance, which is virtually blackmailing the country by keeping production of natural gas in the Kg-D6 gas basin below the stated target till the price is increased, will be the main beneficiary. It is estimated that every dollar increase in gas price will increase Reliance’s profits by at least 74 million dollars.
The hike is irrational even in comparison to gas exporting countries where the price of domestic gas is much lower. For example, in Gulf countries, the price is only $ 1 per mmbtu, in Egypt $ 2.57, in Nigeria $ 0.11, in Australia $ 5 and in Indonesia around $ 1.
The additional subsidy the Government would have to bear at present prices of fertilizer and gas based power is estimated to be to the extent of 71,250 crore rupees for a five year period. This Government which claims it does not have the funds to ensure a universalized food security system, is prepared to subsidise the profits of a powerful corporate house.
The Government will pass on much of this burden to the common people. Farmers will have to pay more for fertilizers, the price of CNG gas used by public transport in many cities will also be hiked as will electricity tariffs.
Natural gas is a natural resource which belongs to the country. It cannot be arbitrarily handed over for super profits to corporates. The CPI(M) demands that the decision for the price increase should be kept in abeyance and fully discussed in Parliament.
The conciliation meeting by the Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) on the 12th June Strike issues between BSNL and Forum of BSNL Employees / Associations scheduled for today, 28th June 2013 stands postponed as per information from CLC. Next date will be fixed and intimated.