- FUNCTIONING OF CHQ
Within a few days at Central Head Quarters at New Delhi, our functioning became systematic. After breakfast we will attend to correspondence, telephone calls and prepare letters on issues to be taken with the administration. Lots of telephone calls from our comrades throughout the country, congratulating and enquiring about their long pending important issues.
Preparation of matters for both the journals, ‘Telecom’ and ‘Correspondence’ was an important work. Matters were to be typed and given to press. Since printing was being done by composing types in the press, proof reading will have to be done two or three times. Sometimes Gopal Printers will send their workers with proofs and sometimes we will have to go there and do proof reading. It was not an easy job. Journals will have to be ready before day of posting, so that it can be presented to RMS office in time.
After lunch, we start for ‘Sanchar Bhawn’, office of Department of Telecommunications, situated near Patel Chowk and Parliament. Travel by union’s old car. Since both of us did not know driving, a driver was appointed. There will be some problem with the car almost every day and will have to be repaired. A regular nuisance. At last car was put in shed permanently. We both were on tour and when returned, car was not seen in the shed. We enquired to Guptaji, who said that the useless car has been sold. We remembered that he had told us to sell the same as it was very old, when it was handed over.
Afterwards we used to travel by bus or auto. Metro service not started. There will be so much rush in the bus that it will be very difficult even to get in. Hiring auto was more troublesome. Drivers will not operate meter and will charge much. Since most of the autos were very old, there was every possibility of breakdown on the way. Then hire another one. It was only after Delhi government prohibited autos with more than 15 years, that situation improved. It used to take about one hour to reach Sanchar Bhawan, due to heavy traffic.
We will first go to room allotted to Staff Side, JCM in the second floor. Make urgent outstation calls, as STD telephones were available. Will meet Secretary, DOT, whose room was directly opposite, if any particular issue was to be discussed. Meet other officers whose rooms are in various floors, hand over the letters and discuss.
By about 18.00 hours most officers will leave. Next we will go to nearby V.P.House, which is the multi-floor government flats allotted to Members of Parliament, where Com.Neelotpal Basu, M.P. (now PBM CPI(M), son-in-law of Moni Bose, stayed with family. Will have coffee and snacks. Sometimes, dinner also.
At about 20.00 – 20.30 hours will start back to Dada Ghosh Bhawan. Again waiting for bus or auto. Same plight. Will reach DGB by about 21.00 hours or so. Take dinner, then work in office up to 00.00 hours.
One day when typing letters, Guptaji came. Moni Bose was not there. He looked at my typing for some time and commented: “Is it the job of All India President to type letters? I had thought that you will contest as General Secretary and Moni as President”. I smiled and replied: “I am a worker and will do any work for the union, including sweeping the office”. I did not miss his sarcasm as well as hidden agenda to create a rift between Moni and me. But he could never succeed. He could probably not understand the very close bond between Moni and me which had continued for decades with mutual respect and love. In fact, Moni Bose had suggested me for General Secretary post stating that he will contest for President as he was existing Vice-President and me as GS as I was the AGS. My suggestion that as leader of our group, he was the proper person to contest against OPG was accepted by our comrades. It also was the correct decision. It was at that time that Com.Moni took assurance from me that I also will stay at Delhi, in case we are elected.
As required by Circle Secretaries, both of us attended many meetings in various circles, expressed our view points on the demands to be raised and on strengthening the organisation. Good support was getting even from those comrades who have opposed us in the AIC. We were visiting many circles for the first time and our support base was increasing. Naturally, this created anxiety for OPG group.
Conspiracies were being hatched behind the scenes. Choudhury Raghubir Singh, Leader Staff Side JCM, President of FNTO and a close friend of OPG, wrote to Secretary DOT on 12th December 1992, that since Moni Bose was an employee terminated in connection with the proposed strike of 1949, he is not eligible to be recognised as General Secretary of the E.III Union. Surprisingly, within days, a letter was received by the union from DOT stating that since Moni Bose is a terminated employee, he cannot be recognised as General Secretary and that President V.A.N.Namboodiri is allowed to make correspondence etc. with the administration. It was clear that such a letter from DOT would never have been issued without knowledge and initiative of OPG. Serious attack on the newly elected office-bearers had started.
As per decision of the union, Com.Moni Bose filed a case in Calcutta High Court against the absurd order of DOT denying him recognition as General Secretary. It was filed through Senior Advocate and veteran leader of CPI(M), Com. Somanath Chatterjee, M.P., who later became the Speaker of Parliament.
NFTE Federal Council and CWC of E.III Union at Mysore.
Federal Council of NFTE was notified for 14-17 March 1992 at Mysore by OPG, SG. Circle Secretaries belonging to OPG group put a requisition for a meeting of the Central Working Committee of E.III union at Mysore itself at the same time. It was clear that there was a new plan of attack on union. E.III Union CHQ notified the CWC as required.
There was contest for office-bearers in Federal Council. OPG was re-elected as Secretary General with G.C.Bawal as President. Our candidates Coms. J.N.Mishra and P.S.Raman Kutty, who contested for the posts of President and Secretary General, got 44% of votes, a respected and improved position.
In the CWC of E.III Union, members belonging to OPG group created disturbances demanding that district secretaries of Major Telephone Districts be allowed to participate, in order to create a fake majority. Since this was not as per the Constitution of the Union as also against the precedence of earlier CWCs including at Bhopal, it was not allowed by the President. The CWC meeting was held and important decisions taken.
Surprisingly, a letter was issued by DOT stating that conflicting reports have been received from V.A.N.Namboodiri President E.III Union and Com.S.Jagannathan about resolutions passed in the CWC. According to Jagannathan, it was stated, that CWC is reported to have held the elections as illegal and unconstitutional. As such, SG NFPTE was asked to intervene by DOT. This letter by DOT was nothing but to create another obstacle in functioning of the union and to support the defeated team at Bhopal. Interestingly it was Homi Daji, then President and Jagannathan, representative of OPG group, who signed the election declaration at Bhopal. DOT’s part of disruption was evident. First, non-recognition of General Secretary elected at Bhopal; now openly supporting the defeated group. It is to be remembered here that outgoing General Secretary O.P.Gupta himself had submitted the list of office-bearers with V.A.N.N Namboodiri and Moni Bose as President and General Secretary respectively. After 5 months, complains to the DOT that election was illegal! Homi Daji, President, who declared election results had again confirmed about the correctness of the declaration when complained by OPG group later.
On the basis of the DOT’s letter, O.P.Gupta as SG issued a notice for holding a meeting of the Circle Secretaries of E.III Union at Bombay from 3rd to 5th June 1992 to hold ‘elections for the CHQ of E.III Union’.
The meeting of the Circle secretaries by SG NFTE was stayed by the Court of the vacation Civil Judge, Hyderabad on 27th May 1992 in the case filed by Com.M.N.Reddy, AGS of E.III Union and direction issued to O.P.Gupta SG NFTE.
In the meantime, High Court of Calcutta, in the case filed by Moni Bose against the order of the DOT not accepting him as the elected General Secretary stayed the orders of DOT.
But the disruption by OPG group continued. A journal named ‘Televigil’ was published in the name of E.III Union, showing S.Jagannathan as President and M.B.Vichare as General Secretary, which was in violation of court orders.
At last, Calcutta High Court delivered the historic judgment declaring Moni Bose as the duly elected General Secretary of the All India Telecom Employees Union Class III and directing DOT to extend all facilities of a recognised union to him. The judgment also made certain remarks stating that ‘the relevant circulars under Rule (mentioned by DOT) have not strictly been adhered to and the case of Shri O.P.Gupta is a glaring example’. Court was referring to the glaring example of O.P.Gupta being accepted as the General Secretary of the Union since 1954, though he never was a P & T employee and was a dismissed CG employee. Judgment also mentioned that ‘the petitioner (Moni Bose) was a temporary employee and his service was terminated without any reason and without any stigma’ and thus did not have any dishonour or disqualification.
The judgment was a big jolt to OPG group. Their continuous unjustified actions against constitution of the union, against democratic functioning, conspiracies with DOT – all were exposed. DOT also stood exposed. At last DOT was compelled to accept E.III Union with Moni Bose as its General Secretary. Truth prevailed at last.
(TO BE CONTINUED)