News in Brief
Theft case at AIR Siliguri: The night of 25th/26th November 2003, was a black night for AIR Siliguri (WB). When the morning shift tried to switch on the transmitter (200 KW) on 26th, they could not - because the ATU Huts were totally empty. Besides the ATU units, a section of feeder line and earthing strips had also been taken away. The estimated loss-Rs One Crore. To make a complete mockery of our security system, thieves struck again in the night of 26th, and this time took away the remaining cables. This time estimated loss - Rs Ten Lakhs. As a result, the radio station remained off-air for couple of weeks. Our members had in the past highlighted the neglect of the aerial field and the station, but nobody cared. Unabated growth of elephant grass and bushes all around for the last three years tells a story of its own. During combing operations the Local Police also discovered a human skeleton from these bushes.

TATA Sumo Disappears on Papers: A brand new Tata Sumo belonging to the O/O of CE(WZ), Mumbai disappeared from the residence of an employee (Technical) of DDK Ahmedabad in 1999. No efforts have been made to trace the vehicle. To top it all, the department is so generous on that person that, instead of investigating the theft or taking any disciplinary action, he is being rewarded in many forms. It is a common knowledge that the person happens to be very close to some of the higher-ups in zonal office as well as in Doordarshan Directorate. In fact the Department is entrusting a number of projects to this person, throughout the state (though he is a subordinate Engg. Staff from DDK Ahmedabad). Had this been a case in some other departments or had the mysterious theft taken place from someone else's residence, the story would have been totally different. It is a matter for serious consideration for Prasar Bharati Board to think that if such 'Super Power' people exist in our midst then why not replace the entire zonal office with such people.

Prasar Bharati Launches DD News: Prasar Bharati launched the DD News Channel on 3rd November 2003, the first ever Terrestrial News Channel of India. In fact the erstwhile DD Metro has given way for DD News. It was after many hiccups that the News channels finally came into being, with apprehensions from all around about its viability and impartiality etc. But, it seems round one has been easily won by DD News, when in the very first month of its operations it commanded good number of audience, placing itself firmly at No-2, in the jungle of so many news channels. Let us hope and wish that the honeymoon period with the audience becomes a long lasting relationship. Felicitation to Senior Leaders: Sh. P.N. Kohli and Sh. R.P. Bhardwaj, two of our veteran leaders have superannuated in the months of October and June respectively. As a token of thanks-giving for all their services to the Association, Central Executive of ARTEE felicitated them on 30th November. We wish both of them a very happy and happening post-retirement life. Member Personnel Joins Prasar Bharati: ARTEE welcomes Sh. K.P.S. Lamba on his appointment as Member (Personnel). It is for the first time, after the inception of Prasar Bharati, that someone is appointed on the post. ARTEE welcomes the appointment and hopes that staff matters will be taken up on priority now.

Manipulation in the minutes of the meeting with the CEO : In the meeting held on 23/09/2003, Sh. K.S.Sharma, CEO extended a positive attitude towards a number of issues including opening the promotional channel to Diploma holder AEs. But it was shocking to notice that the minutes were prepared by ignoring / manipulating the true spirit and directives/decisions of CEO. We have pointed out it to the attention of CEO and demanded to revise the minutes to reflect the true spirit of the meeting. CEO has directed the concerned officials to revise it accordingly.

Meeting with the CEO: Representatives of ARTEE met the CEO on 6th December and 15th December 2003. Some of the issues discussed on 6th December;

i. Resumption of Office Council Meetings: CEO agreed that the Office Council Meetings for AIR and Doordarshan be conducted under the Chairmanship of respective E-in-C's till such time the regular DGs join.

ii. Facilities to the staff posted at the station/ Kendra in J&K: It was brought to the notice of the CEO that after June/ July 2003, CE (NZ) is not declaring Jammu as the Headquarter. ARTEE brought it to the notice of CEO that CE (NZ) is not extending this facility to the subordinate staff because the present Supdt. Engineer at AIR Jammu was denied the facility by the Directorate. While on the one hand Doordarshan has been consistently granting this facility to its entire staff posted in this trouble torn area, Sh. Ranjeet Singh CE(AVM-Officiating), had made it a prestige point not to extend this facility to the subordinate cadres till 'his' Supdt. Engineer is given this facility. E-in-C (AIR) was also annoyed by this information and assured to take corrective step soon. It was decided that the existing facilities would continue, with retrospective effect, to all the employees. J & K is a very sensitive region and Sh. Ranjeet Singh is in fact compounding the problems of our staff posted there.
  This was brought to the notice of the CEO and is being closely followed afterwards. CEO has taken a very serious note on this.

iii. Merger of DED, DET and Mast Technician in the Mainstream: ARTEE pointed out that the order for merger of DED, DET and Mast Technician in the mainstream had not yet been declared in-spite of a declaration by the Hon'ble Minister of State for I&B in the National Convention of the Association held at Mumbai in January 2003. Director (EPM) outlined the status of the cases and informed that the proposal to this effect was sent to the Ministry on 01-04-2003.
  Subsequently, approval of Prasar Bharati Board was also conveyed to Ministry on 27-05-2003. A number of reminders have been issued to the Ministry but still Ministry's approval is awaited. E-in-C (Doordarshan) was kind enough to assure the house that he would personally take up the issue with the concerned officials in the Ministry.

iv. De-notification of Recruitment Rules of sub-ordinate engineering cadres: ARTEE requested the CEO for De-notification of the already notified Recruitment Rules, because of some glaring discrepancies. CEO assured that necessary amendments to these rules will be made as per the recommendations of the RR review committee. Further, the absurdity in the Recruitment qualification of Technicians was brought to the notice of the CEO. E-in-C (Doordarshan) also pointed out that recruitment of Technicians has virtually stopped, as no Institute in India is granting the two years diploma qualification, as prescribed in the new notified rules.     He further mentioned that this appears to be a typographical error and this should have been a 'two years Trade Certificate'. Director (EPM) mentioned that a few discrepancies were observed in the Recruitment Rules of Technicians and EAs and a proposal in this effect was sent to Ministry on 10-06-2003 but the same is yet to be approved in-spite of repeated reminders. Considering the urgency CEO directed that a proposal may be submitted, for approval in the next meeting of the Prasar Bharati Board, that the diploma may be read as 'Two Year Trade Certificate', so that recruitment of Technicians can be initiated without waiting for amendment in the RR. The proposal has since been approved in the PB board meeting on 18th December 2003.

v. Various facilities for Central Govt. Employees: On the demand of the Association, CEO pointed out that sufficient funds have been kept by Prasar Bharati for HBA, Motor Cycle, Car, Computer etc. but it is understood that these funds have not been utilized fully. CEO directed that necessary circular about availability of funds may be issued (Note: All aspirants for loans and advances may send their applications immediately, with a copy to the Association) Regarding CGHS, CEO informed the house that Health Ministry has agreed to continue the facility. As for Housing and admission to Central Schools, CEO mentioned that he has already discussed this issue with the concerned authorities but the final outcome is awaited.

vi. Deployment of Retired Personnel: ARTEE expressed its strong feelings on the issue and succeeded in deferring the implementation of the appointment of Casual Operators. It was also emphasized by ARTEE that over 900 posts of EAs are lying vacant and efforts be initiated to fill-up those posts as soon as possible. Director (EPM) pointed out that the proposal for clearance to fill up 940 posts of EAs was sent to Ministry on 13-06-2003, but the Ministry has asked to re-examine this proposal in view of the latest instructions of DOPT wherein only one third posts of direct recruitment quota can be filled up. Since there is acute shortage of staff in AIR and DD and number of projects are unutilized, it was decided that this issue may be put up in the forthcoming meeting of the Prasar Bharati Board for consideration. (Note: Prasar Bharati Board in its meeting on 18th December, has given its approval for the Recruitment of about 950 sanctioned vacant posts of EAs and about 400 posts of Technicians). But no unanimity emerged on the issue of engagement of casual/ Contract staff in the technical cadre. The issue is still very much live and now it has been taken up by JFADEE. In the meeting of 15th December the only agenda item was AE to ASE promotions/ Removal of Stagnation: The issue was discussed in detail, in front of a sympathetic CEO. While it was emphasized by ARTEE that we are not against qualification and qualified people, but something must be done for the vast number of stagnating AEs. The official side informed that they had put up the proposal of Selection grade in the past, Prasar Bharati Board had also approved it (in March 2000), but at that time the Ministry objected to this proposal saying;

(a) Stagnation problem is not established i.e. there are not enough stagnating AEs.

(b) Higher pay-scales have already been granted to AEs.

(c) It will have an adverse effect on other departments.

    This was contested by ARTEE stating that;
(a) There might not have been many AEs at that time because of implementation of Pay Commission report, but now there are good number of AEs who have come to stagnation in pay scales and this number will be more than 500 in less than a year's time.These AEs are still left with many more years in service.

(b) No higher scale has been given to AEs, as such, because this higher scale has emerged as a result of higher scale to EAs.
(c) A number of other departments have already granted selection grade of Rs 8000-13500 to its cadres.
    CEO has agreed to put up the proposal once again to the Ministry and asked ARTEE to submit the detailed data on the number of stagnating AEs and copies of such orders in other departments as soon as possible to strengthen its case.

In addition to this proposal, CEO has also agreed for considering opening the channel for non-degree holder AEs to JTS through differential length of service (without any departmental examination). To accommodate the stagnating AEs, CEO has kindly agreed to pursue diverting the vacant UPSC posts for departmental candidates as a one-time exemption. He cited a similar precedent of such exemption as in case of programme cadre of Prasar Bharati.

Meeting with E-in-C (Doordarshan): ARTEE had a meeting with Sh R.K. Gupta (E-in-C) on 11th December 2003 on the issue of 'Appointment of Casuals in Techical cadres'. E-in-C informed the house that it has been decided to transfer about 15 people from other stations to CPC to reinforce the DD News strength. But ARTEE brought it to the notice of Sh. Gupta that these transfers have in fact made matters further complicated. People are being transferred from outside Delhi like Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi etc. while the understanding reached in the CEO's meeting was to take people from some stations of Delhi from where they can be spared, and to sympathetically consider the requests of those willing to come to Delhi on transfer. CE(NZ-DD) Sh. Heer, present in the meeting, kindly agreed to cancel such orders where staff has been transferred from outside Delhi against their willingness.

Meeting with E-in-C (AIR): ARTEE had meetings with Sh K. M. Paul (E-in-C) on 11th December and 19th December 2003. The meeting of 11th was a preparatory meeting for the forthcoming CEO's meeting (of 15th December).
    Some of the issues discussed in the meeting of 19th are;
i. Bifurcation of EZ/NEZ: ARTEE wanted to know the fate of the proposal it submitted to the Directorate on the subject. E-in-C was appreciative of the proposal, but other officials cited some of the reservations expressed by other zonal CEs on transferring the posts. ARTEE suggested that this is just a reallocation of posts to EZ, which will lessen the burden of EZ and NEZ, and it is very much within the purview of Directorate. E-in-C agreed to look into the proposal afresh for shifting the Head Quarter of some posts from other zones. In addition he also agreed to extend the date for liberal zonal transfers (from affected zones) till 31st March 2004. On the issue of exercising options for EZ or NEZ, it was brought to the notice of E-in-C that there are still some more people, who could not exercise their options in time. E-in-C asked the Association to rush such cases to Directorate so that decision can be taken soon. E-in-C also agreed to physically bring all the persons of East Zone from North East Zone and vice-versa against vacant higher posts (AE, ASEs) upto the maximum possible extent.
ii. HPT Goraya (Jallandhar) and Gurbani (Amritsar) case: It was brought to the notice of E-in-C that; a. Goraya is 35 kms from Jallandhar. One needs a separate establishment at Goraya, as daily to and fro journey is not possible.
b. Anyone who is transferred to Jallandhar (after a difficult station tenure or otherwise) is at the mercy of Supdt. Engineer (Jallandhar), as he may transfer him/her to Goraya after joining at Jallandhar.
c. Acting as a parallel cadre controlling office, the Supdt. Engineer issues a formal transfer order to Goraya with Trasfer TA/DA.
d. The rates of allowances (HRA, CCA etc.) are also much less at Goraya, though it is considered a part of Jallandhar and managed by the same Supdt. Engineer.
e. This practice has been going on for the last 5-6 yrs.
    Officials present in the meeting reacted in unison that "this is illegal on the part of Supdt. Engineer, Jallandhar". ARTEE suggested that Goraya be declared a separate station (with controlling office Jallandhar), and efforts be made to declare Goraya a difficult station. E-in-C agreed to do the needful and requested ARTEE to submit a detailed proposal on the matter. E-in-C also agreed that for Gurbani Service at Amritsar, staff will henceforth be deployed on short tours with TA/DA as admissible.

iii. Violation of Transfer Policy: It was pointed out that the zonal offices and the directorate have been violating the transfer policy in a number of cases, be it the return from difficult station tenure or spelling out at least three station policy. Cases like that of Sh. Kamble (Ahwa-Dang, Gujarat) were brought to the notice of E-in-C with a request for not repeating such things in future. E-in-C expressed his displeasure at this and assured to correct these aberrations. E-in-C advised Association to bring such cases to the notice of CE(M) for immediate remedial action.
iv. Difficult station declaration/ Categorization: It was pointed out that a list of stations is lying with the Directorate for being declared as Difficult, for a long time. E-in-C desired to see the file and assured that all efforts will be made to finalise the categorizations of stations at the earliest. Shifting of LPTV Modassa: As the LPTV Modassa is situated in a communally sensitive location, ARTEE has been demanding to shift it to a safer place. In the Gujarat State Convention, held at Ahmedabad on 16/11/2003, Sh. R.K. Gupta, E-in-C, Doordarshan declared that the shifting would take place in a very short period. Accordingly, the Directorate has advised Superintending Engineer, DDK, Ahmedabad and Station Engineer, DDMC, Ahmedabad to make a site selection. These Officers responded very positively and the process is going on for the shifting of LPTV to a safer place to the satisfaction of the staff members. Sh. R. Dasgupta, (President) Sh. Anilkumar, (General Secretary) have visited LPTV Modassa, as well as the possible new site on 17/11/2003 along with the State Committee.

The Central Headquarter is closely monitoring the process.

Talent Within: In the recently organized 'VATAVARAN 2003', India's Exclusive National Environment & Wildlife Film Festival, two of our engineering colleagues have done us proud by winning a prize. This event was organized at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The small documentary film, 'Bhugarbh Jal Starr' made with the help of computer animations was not only short-listed for screening in the film festival but bagged a prize as well. The duo from DDK Lucknow Sh. Bhargav Roy (SEA) and Sh. Kamal Gulati (EA) deserves kudos from all of us.

ARTEE meets the Chairman Prasar Bharati: Representatives of ARTEE met Sh. M.V. Kamath, Chairman, Prasar Bharati Board on 5th November 2003 and urged him to;
i     Denotify the RRs in respect of subordinate engineering cadres.
ii    Stop recruitment of casual in subordinate engineering cadres.
iii    Evolve a policy to resume appointments on compassionate grounds.
iv    Look into the violations of transfer policy.

Sh Kamath has assured of all possible help in these matters.

Activities of Orissa: State Secretary Orissa, Sh.B.B. Das along with his committed team of members is making all out efforts for solving the problems of members of Orissa state. He has held a series of meetings with;
Sh. S.D. Roy (CE) O/O DG Doordarshan, on 11th August, Sh R.R. Prasad, DE O/O CE (EZ) on 15th and 16th October, Dr. R.A.P. Rao (DDG), O/O DG Doordarshan on 16th October, Sh. Bhartuhari Mahatab (MP) and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT on 15th and 16th October and CEO (Prasar Bharati) on 22nd November.
The points discussed include:
i.Staff Sanction/ posting at LPT/ DDK stations in Orissa,
ii.Categorization of LPTs of Orissa.
iii. Provision of staff quarters to all shift duty engineering staff.
iv. Release of funds for security arrangements of LPTs of Orissa.
v. Problems in east zone after the zonal bifurcation.
vi.Retention of staff quarters on transfer to KBK region (i.e. Koraput, Bolangir and Kalahandi region)
vii. Necessary posting of faculty/ staff members at RSTI (T) to meet the training needs.
viii. Staff welfare matter at AIR Bhawnipatna.
ix. Handing over of state govt. quarters to LPT Sundergarh.
x. Problems arising out of the extended transmission hours at DDK Sambalpur.
xi.LISCC meetings at all AIR/DDK/LPT/LRS stations.
xii.Vehicle and staff quarter problems of HPT Cuttack, DDK Bhubaneshwar and LPT/LRS Puri.
All these meetings took place while these officials were on tour to the state. ARTEE headquarter appreciates the efforts. Some of the cases are being actively followed by ARTEE heaquarter.

Letter to Minister: Association, through its letter dated 02/12/2003, has requested Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon'ble Minister for I & B, to intervene
i. To fill up sanctioned vacant posts in sub-ordinate engineering cadres of AIR & DD.
ii.To de-notify the gazette notification issued on 15/03/2002 regarding the recruitment rules of sub-ordinate engineering cadres
iii.To intervene to stop deployment of personnel on contract/casual basis as Consultants/Operators.

Wake-up Call at Hyderabad: One major attempt was made at AIR Hyderabad to run the newly commissioned 1 KW, MW transmitter, with the help of casual operators. In fact AIR Hyderabad is already understaffed and to overcome the shortage, people are on tour to Hyderabad from nearby stations. Taking advantage of this shortage, all our efforts were being made to run the newly commissioned transmitter with the help of hired people. ARTEE units of Hyderabad reacted swiftly on the issue and met Sh. K. S. Sarma, CEO in Hyderabad on 24th November to place the facts before him. CEO then agreed to continue with the tour arrangements for running the station till new recruitment takes place. CEO also appreciated the efforts of staff in making the National Games coverage a big success. He has also agreed, in principle, to grant honorarium to the staff for this.