News In Brief

Dr. V.K. Singh appointed E-in-C (DD): We extend our heartiest congratulations to Dr. Singh on his taking over the charge of Engineer-in-Chief in Doordarshan. The post had fallen vacant after the superannuation of Sh. R.K. Gupta on 31st October 2004.

Sh. L.V. Sharma, CE (DDM-NZ): Sh L.V. Sharma joins as CE (DDM-NZ). ARTEE welcomes Sh Sharma's appointment. We feel that with his positive attitude and cool temperament, Sh Sharma will be a great help in resolving long pending issues in North Zone. Central Executive met Sh. Sharma on 24th December and he offered to put in his best efforts in solving the staff welfare matters in North Zone. We sincerely appreciate his approach.

Driver Goes berserk in Ambikapur: It is reported that all the shift duty staff at AIR Ambikapur (Chhatisgarh) are being regularly harassed and humiliated by a Motor Driver. Sh. Ravi Kant, the motor driver in question, is a known history-sheeter in this regard. He is habitual user of abusive and filthy language without any provocation. Usually he prefers to remain under the influence of Alcohol. On 28-10-2004 He entered in a scuffle with the shift duty staff and even manhandled the staff and threatened them with dire consequences reportedly in an inebriated condition. The matter was reported to the local authorities not only by the Engineering staff but by the entire staff of Akashwani. Staff members including fellow drivers submitted written statements to the office. It is significant to note that Sh. Ravi Kant was transferred out of Ambikapur on a similar complaint sometimes back. How he managed to come back to Ambikapur is anybody's guess. The demand of the staff is that Sh. Ravi Kant should be taken out of Ambikapur. The Matter has also been taken up with DDG (A) at Directorate level, awaiting disposal.

Corruption case at DDK Trivendrum: DDK Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) once again came into the headlines of print & private electronic media when CBI arrested the Director of DDK on charges of corruption. CBI team from Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi arrested Mr.Peer Mohammad, DDK on 16th September and charged him with corruption in allowing benami transactions of slot-buying lobby. DDK Thiruvananthapuram had the misfortune of being in lime-light couple of years back when similar charges were framed against the then Director. This time it is reported that the arrest has adversely affected the Kendra's revenue from advertisements and sponosorships in Deepawali season. Revenue earning of this Kendra is the second highest after National Channel. On September 16, 2004, the Station Director of DDK Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) was caught red handed by CBI on charges of accepting bribe from a producer of a Malayalam serial. Sh. Peer Mohammed was trapped by a CBI team when he allegedly accepted Rs. 10,000/- at his residence at Kannammoola. He was later remanded to judicial custody of 15 days. A CBI official said Mr. Mohammed had demanded a bribe when the producer met him with a request for a convenient slot for the serial. A "deal" was struck and the producer had agreed to pay Rs. 2 lakh. The producer, however, approached the CBI with a complaint and a trap was laid. Accordingly, the producer went to Sh. Mohammed's house with the part payment of Rs. 10,000/- and the official was arrested after he allegedly accepted the money and a bottle of liquer..
(Source: The Hindu)

Transport Problems at AIR Parbhani: It was reported by Sh. G. Subramanyam, Unit Sec. of AIR Parbhani (MS) and Sh. N.L. Deshmukh (Org Sec-MS) that transport facilities to and from HPT has been withdrawn by a formal order issued by the SD, AIR Parbhani citing paucity of funds (in the transport head). This resulted in great hardship to the staff as they had to commute to the HPT complex situated in a dense forest area, notorious for anti social elements. They had to travel this distance of 10 Kms even during odd hours on their own. Even sometimes they had to forcibly stay overnight at HPT complex after the close of transmission at 0000 hrs. The matter was taken up by ARTEE west zone committee with CE (WZ). Thereafter CE (AVM-WZ) visited AIR Parbhani to enquire about the matter, who in turn stressed the need for proper transport for shift staff and suggested that the matter needs be taken up at the Directorate level. Subsequently, the matter was taken up by the central office with DG (AIR) and on the spot decision was taken by the DG to release sufficient funds in the transport head for Parbhani and similar other AIR installations, so as to ensure transport facilities for transmitter complexes. The problem has since been resolved.

Services of stingers being taken at DDK Raipur: It has been reported that at DDK Raipur, stingers are frequently being engaged for media coverages in Raipur. It is significant to note that DDK Raipur (capital city of Chhattisgarh) is fully equipped both logistically and with specialist manpower to cover such events. This is a glaring example of underutilizing in-house facilities which is causing lot of financial expenditure in the entire network of Doordarshan in general and DDK Raipur in particular. This matter has been taken up as an agenda point for the forthcoming meeting with DG (Doordarshan).

Bitter truth about Outsourcing: The issue of outsourcing is not new for us. There had been concerted moves on the part of both the Directorates to outsource the manning of 24 hrs news channel at CPC and the transmission activities in New Broadcasting House at Delhi. This sinister attempt was prevented by timely intervention by ARTEE under the banner of SSS. Again an attempt was made to outsource not only the operations of DTH services but maintenance as well. The deal was being finalized with a party who was supplying equipment for DTH. This Association in a meeting with E-in-C (TV) on 29th July 2004, vehemently opposed this move and a letter was subsequently written to the hon'ble Minister under the banner of SSS. It is disgusting to note that today we find outsourcing for DTH is in final stages, under the peculiar circumstances when the above mentioned company is seen as the main sponsor for the National convention of the other constituent of SSS. Need for introspection?

Harassment of staff at LPT Lakshadweep: Three technicians under DMC Cochin had been deployed at LPT Lakshadweep for the last more than two years to run the LPT, as there was no sanction of staff, with an understanding that they will be called back after one year. It seems the authorities, both in Zonal office (SZ) as well as in DMC Cochin have not only forgotten about their promise but also do not want to realize that there are some dedicated people stuck up at Lakshadweep. Authorities are evading their moral responsibilities in this respect. The life in Lakshadweep is very thrilling for a visitor holidaying there for 10 days or so, but beyond that it becomes highly monotonous and a person starts feeling the sense of dejection, because of the physical remoteness and different social environment. The three technicians have lost all hopes of coming back to the mainland and resigned to their fate and false promises of authorities. The issue was raised by Sh Boben George (State Sec-Kerala) and accordingly the matter has been discussed with Sh. Appakutty (CE-SZ) who expressed helplessness due to financial constraint in sending staff on rotational tour to Lakshdweep. Subsequently this matter was taken up by the central office with E-in-C (AIR) who has shown positive gesture in solving this problem.

Arbitrary Recoveries by IRLA: IRLA, famously remembered for slow work pace in implementing employee benefit schemes but acting swiftly in cases of punishment and recoveries has once again lived upto its reputation. IRLA has started recovering the arrear amount paid to the Assistant Engineers after the pay fixation order of 15th May 1995 with a plea that the amount paid as arrears for the non-gazetted period should not have been paid by IRLA as they do not have any means to verify the due-drawn statements for the non-gazetted period. And hence the arbitrary recoveries of heavy amounts have already been effected in respect of AEs. We strongly feel that the action initiated by IRLA is not only arbitrary but it is highly illogical too. We are taking up the issue with Deputy Controller of Accounts (DCA-IRLA) and Member (Finance), Prasar Bharati.

Cadre Review: It is learnt that the government is moving very fast with the proposal of cadre review of IB(E)S cadres of AIR and Doordarshan. The Association strongly feels that though the cadre review in all the Engineering/ Technical cadres including that of IB(E)S is long overdue and cadre review should be conducted as soon as possible. At the same time this Association very strongly feels that any group-wise cadre review in isolation is not only unscientific but thoroughly illogical also. We've strongly urged the DG (AIR) to stop the move of cadre review of one group of engineering staff, but to hold a comprehensive cadre review for the entire technical staff.

Garba Utsav Organised On Navratri: Gujarat state unit of ARTEE organized a Garba programme within the premises of DD/AIR colony at Ahmedabad. Approximately 800 people besides the staff members participated in the event. Our unit members did their best to make the event a grand success. It was given good coverage on the regional channel of Doordarshan.

ARTEEians meet at Darbhanga: One day conference was organized at AIR Darbhanga (Bihar) on 11th October 2004. Local MLA Sh. Sultan Ahamed inaugurated the conference by lighting the ceremonial lamp. City Mayor Sh Om Prakash Khedia was the guest of honour. Sh Ahmed highlighted the importance of terrestrial electronics media during the times of natural calamities. Sh Khedia emphasized the need for resources for running Prasar Bharati more effectively. Sh Kuldeep Bhan, VP(AIR) underlined the need for funding of Prasar Bharati from Consolidated Fund of India as is being done in case of some other Autonomous bodies like UPSC etc. Wide coverage was given by the local media to the event.

Report of SS Orissa: ARTEE state unit discussed the following points with E-in-C (AIR) on 02-12-2004 and discussed the many issues. Some of these are;
· Zonal bifurcation and the aftereffects in EZ in general and Orissa in particular.
· The pending cases of categorization of LPTs at the earliest.
· Necessary sanction/ posting at AIR/DD stations of Orissa.
· Posting of adequate teaching faculty and staff members at RST (I), Bhubaneswar to meet the training needs.
· Construction of staff quarters at Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Bhawanipatna.
· Retention of staff quarters on transfer to KBK region.
· Overnight stay after midnight at DDK Sambalpur.
· Construction/ repair of buildings at LPT Sundergarh, Deogarh and Rairangpur.

Departmental Examinations: Probable dates for departmental Examinations SEA to AE - 3rd Week of March 2005. Sr. Tech to EA (for North Zone only) - 4th Week of March 2005, as examination in North Zone could not be held along with other zones due to the pending court case.

Meeting with Minister (I &B): ARTEE representatives had a meeting with Sh. S. Jaipal Reddy, Hon'ble Minister for Information & Broadcasting on 24/11/2004. The following points were discussed in the meeting.

1. Re-starting of Departmental & Office Council meetings: Association pointed out that the Departmental Council and Office Councils, under JCM scheme, are not functioning inAIR and DD. Association informed that DG,AIR has started separate meetings with Associations but not in JCM scheme. Hon'ble Minister assured that Departmental Council and Office Council of Doordarshan will start immediately under the JCM Scheme in addition to other routine meetings. DG, AIR will be asked to call the meetings under the JCM scheme.

2. Filling up the vacant posts in sub-ordinate engineering cadres: Association pointed out that the posts of about 1500 Engineering Assistants and 500 Technicians are lying vacant, affecting the smooth running of the organization as these are purely operational cadres. Our staff members are some how managing the show even under violation of Electricity rules and Humanitarian conditions. Association further expressed its apprehension of loosing those posts if not filled before 31st December 2004. Minister has assured that matter will be taken up immediately with Ministry of Finance for removing the ban on these technical cadres as these are operational cadres Doordarshan. It was also assured that Ministry will not allow these posts to be abolished.
Association requested the Minister not to start any new project till filling up of these vacancies in EA and Technician cadres.

3. Deployment of personnel on contract basis: Association pointed out that the Directorate of Doordarshan is planning to hand over the Operation & Maintenance of DTH services to an outside agency. Association requested the Minister to avoid such system of outsourcing and assured that our staff members will take the additional burden till the vacant posts are filled up (for which Minister has assured to take up immediate action). Association intimated that ARTEE will not allow outsourcing in Engineering cadres in AIR & Doordarshan. It was assured that the matter will be discussed with E-in-C, Doordarshan.

4. Kashmir Package: Association has pointed out that after the detailed discussion with the Association representatives, the O/O DG (AIR) has send the proposal for Kashmir Package, which was recommended by the committee headed by Dr .V K Singh (CE-D), to Ministry of I & B for its approval. Minister agreed that necessary instruction will be given to Secretary I & B for clearance the package at the earliest.

Besides these the Association brought the following points also into the notice of the Minister:
· Merger of Diesel Engine Driver, Diesel Technician and Mast Technician with mainstream cadres.
· Bifurcation of East Zone and North East Zone
· Grant of ACP for subordinate engineering cadres
· Grant of Selection Grade for AE.
· Promotion of Diploma holder AE to JTS

Minister assured that Secretary, I&B will be asked to convene a meeting within a fortnight to discuss and decide all these points. Further it was instructed to the DG, Doordarshan to meet Association representatives on the issues already submitted to DG, Doordarshan.

Meeting with DG (AIR): Following issues were discussed with DG (AIR) in a meeting on 19-11-2004.
· Promotion of SEA to AE: The supplementary list has since been released.
· Promotion form EA to SEA in all the zones: This issue was discussed at length and the Chairman informed that he has approved the proceedings of the DPCs for the current year for all the zones. Orders to this effect have since been issued. Regarding the DPC held for the year 2003-04 in the NE zone, the case would be referred to DoPT along with similar cases in respect of promotions in the cadres of Sr.Tech to EA and Helper to Technician in the NE zone.
· Departmental Examination for Promotion for Sr. Tech to EA in NZ: The Association requested that the Departmental Examination for promotion from Sr. Tech to EA in the three zones, namely South, West, and NE zone scheduled for 21st November 2004 may be deferred so that North Zone could be included in the schedule. The chairman did not agree and instead directed that Examination for NZ may be held at a later date.
· Departmental Examination for SEA to AE promotion: The chairman directed that the dates for the next examination should now be finalized and notified shortly.