NFADE Agitation Report

It's been a long time since Akashvani and Doordarshan witnessed the kind of spontaneity of coming out in large numbers. The frustration and anxiety was visible on the faces of each and everybody. Employees belonging to all the cadres right from a Group D to a Director, Helper to Chief Engineers, Studio guards to DDG's were all there to voice their concern on the prevailing uncertain situation in the so-called autonomous body, the Prasar Bharati Corporation. During the first phase of agitation NFADE submitted memorandums to the Prime Minister, Governors of states, Chief Ministers and Parliamentarians. Leaders of NFADE also met some of the MPs and made them understand the bad patch through which Prasar Bharati is going. It was emphasized that the present state is a result of the apathetic attitude of successive governments since the formation of Prasar Bharati.

The Silent March organized on 9th November from Mandi House to Shastri Bhawan was a big success both in terms of the number of participants and the disciplined manner in which the march took place. Because of Section 144 was enforced around the Parliament House so NFADE was assigned an alternate route for the march, starting from Mandi House, Barakhamba Road to Jantar Manter. March started with the blowing of Conch Shell from Mandi House and ended at Jantar Mantar where the peaceful march congregated into a Grand Meeting. The gathering was then addressed by NFADE chairman Sh. R. Dasgupta and other leaders. Two long queues of 2 kilometer each of staff members from different units of AIR and DD in Delhi with a white strip of cloth wrapped on mouth and billboards in hands depicting the pathetic condition of Prasar Bharati was a rare sight in the history of AIR and DD. Curious onlookers enroute added colour to the march. Even Delhi Police was all praise for the grace and disciplined way in which the march of around 5000 people progressed. Wide coverage was given by leading newspapers the following day.

The day long Sit-in-Dharna at Akashwani Bhawan on 30th November was also supported by CITU and AITUC with Sh. Chitrabrato Majumdar, MP & General Secretary (CITU) and Sh Gurudas Dasgupta, MP, General Secretary (AITUC) addressing the gathering in the premises of Akashwani Bhawan. Other MPs who addressed the employees during the Dharna are Sh. D. Raja (CPI), Sh. Nilotpal Basu (CPI-M), Sh Dipankar Mukherjee (CPI-M) and Sh. Ajay Maken (Congress). Sh. D. Raja stated that 'it is the pride of a nation to have a Public Broadcaster' and fund generation, if required, should be done in the form of cess and not through the License fee (as being propagated in some quarters of government). Sh. Ajay Maken aptly summarized our status by stating that, 'earlier AIR and DD employees were fishes swimming in smaller ponds, but now their hands and legs are tied and they are thrown in the sea, where bigger fishes and sharks are roaming freely'. All the parliamentarians emphasized that protection of AIR and DD is in national interest and that they will take up the issue at appropriate levels.

NFADE organized a Demand Week at all the centres of AIR and Doordarshan in the country form 12th to 18th December. On 16th December a March to Parliament was organized. The March started off from Jantar Mantar and converted into an assembly in front of Parliament Street police station (point where all such marches come to an end). The meeting was addressed by Sh. Gurudas Dasgupta (MP and Gen Sec AITUC) besides Sh. Deepak Mehrotra, Vice-Chairman NFADE, Sh. Achinta Sinha and other leaders. Sh. Achinta Sinha, Convenor (JPA) despite his ill health made an inspiring speech and highlighted the sorry state of affairs of Prasar Bharati. After the meeting, Sh. Deepak Mehrotra escorted by Sh. Gurudas Dasgupta met the Prime Minister and personally briefed him about the uncertainty of the status of Prasar Bharati employees and the mental agony the staff is going through. Dr. Manmohan Singh gave him a patient hearing and assured of looking into the matter.

ARTEE Wishes all its Members and Well Wishers
Very Happy New Year-2005