West Bengal State Conference: Siliguri

4th West Bengal State Conference was held at PGF (DD) Phulbari, Jalpaiguri on 4th and 5th September 2004. On 4th the conference began with the inaugural addresses of Sh R.R. Prasad, CE (EZ) and Sh. R.N. Chaudhary, Supdt. Engineer (AIR Siliguri). Delegates from all over the state attended the conference. Some of the issues highlighted during the conference are;
·    Sh Ashish Kr. Roy from HPT/LPT Balurghat explained the problems being faced by the staff on account of adhocism being practiced there. Administrative powers of Balurghat are with the station, but financial powers are with DDMC Purnea. Balurghat was earlier an LPT, but now converted to an HPT.
·     Sh Pintu Sengupta from HPT Asansol requested for training of the staff in computers and in the recently introduced Thomcast transmitter. He further emphasized the need for such a training at Asansol itself so that most of the staff is benefited.
·     Attention was also invited towards the lack of studio facility at AIR Asansol. In fact, during the formative stages, there was a dispute on the location of this AIR station. Dispute was whether it should be at Durgapur or Asansol. Due to political reasons finally it was decided that the station would be at Asansol. But during this dispute the 5 year plan period expired and the money meant for constructing the studio complex was returned unused. As of now, though staff is sanctioned and posted there, but it works only as a relay centre (LRS). Staff from Asansol demanded construction of a studio complex keeping in view the commercial potentiality of Industrial township at Asansol.
·     Sh Tamal Chaudhary from LPT Cooch-Behar (under DDMC Darjeeling) had a surprising piece of information for the delegates when he informed the house that this LPT is yet to find its place in official records. He further suggested that for all practical purposes DDMC Darjeeling should be shifted to DDK Jalpaiguri.
·     Sh. Manikumar Thakuri from LPT Darjeeling narrated the story of his legal battle for saving a plot of land, adjacent to our station, from being grabbed by some outsiders. Now that the land stands in the name of ARTEE. He requested the house to explore the possibility of building a holiday home for ARTEEians.
·     Sh. P.K. Sanyal and Sh. Debashish Nayak from LPT Garbetta explained how they successfully fought for securing one post of Sr.Tech, which was arbitrarily transferred from Garbetta. Garbetta is a place where wild Tuskers, snakes, scorpions and other insects have got easy access inside the office premises. Sh. Sanyal also highlighted the sorry state of affairs at LPT Jhargram, where one has to take an Umbrella even to go to toilet.
·     Sh Tara Chetri from LPT Kalimpong had the house in splits with his oratory skills. He drew attention of the house towards the dilapidated condition of the LPT building, which may come down anytime. He invited delegates to visit Kalimpong, but advised them to make arrangement of horses as well, because after the rail/ road journey, horse ride is a necessity to go to the Kalimpong station. To make ARTEE strong, he suggested that we as hardcore ARTEEians must encourage members to go to different places all over India, so that we can learn about each others cultures, languages and the geographic/ climatic conditions. Raising the issue of Helpers, he explained the misery of a helper who has to wait for a long time to go to a higher post, so he requested the house to think for a post of Sr. Helper, drawing an analogy with other cadres in the chain.
    Sh S.B. Gurung from DDMC Darjeeling explained the hardship faced by the departmental examination aspirants. He requested CWC to do something on this front for all departmental examinations, so that the candidate can at least get satisfactory answers to the questions which form part of the syllabus.
·     Sh Parthsarthi Bandopadhyay from AIR Kurseong proposed to make serious efforts for making Kurseong a multi-channel station. He also highlighted the need for training of staff for maintenance of Studer machines. He emphasized the need for Nepali programmes from DDK Jalpaiguri to cater to the needs of the Nepali community in Darjeeling. He also demanded that the Examination paper for Helpers must be in regional language as well, to make it more understandable to the Helper community.

On the organisational front he suggested that to save finances the tenure of CWC be increased to 3 yrs, and FILAMENT should include good wishes for retiring members. He complained that the staff at Kurseong is getting only Rs. 300 as Hill Compensatory Allowance, while the state government employees are getting it @ of 15% of basic salary. Sh. J.P. Sengupta, VP(EZ) commended the dynamism shown by ARTEE Kurseong unit in staff welfare matters. Special mention of Sh D.J. Bhuia was also made for the efforts made by him towards the success of this conference.
·     Sh Abhijit from AIR Kolkata desired to know the views of central leaders in running the IGNOU transmitters, when he explained that one such transmitter in Kolkata is being run by the staff of CE(EZ).
·     Sh. Kaushik Ghatak from DDK Kolkata demanded that Sikkim must be part of East Zone for its proximity with the zone. He suggested that the CWC must be of smaller size for easier decision making process. He informed the house that DDK Kolkata unit plans to take the agitational path if the long pending medical/ TA-Transfer and OTA claims are not settled in the near future.
·     Sh. Morari Mohan Das from LPT Malda emphasized the imminent need for a high mast for better coverage.
·    LPT Basanti representative informed the house that the LPT runs on Oil/ Diesel the whole day, and he was worried with the thought of one more transmitter coming up over the hill-top in near future.

The evening of 5th September was reserved as an Open session of the convention. Sh. Ashok Narayan Bhattacharya (Hon'be Minister of Municipal Affairs & urban Development, Govt. of WB), Smt. Minati Sen (MP from Jalpiguri) and Sh. Dawa Narbula (MP from Darjeeling) were the guests of honour on the occasion. Sh R.R. Prasad CE (EZ) and Sh. R.N. Chaudhary also graced the occasion. Sh. Bhattacharya underlined the need for a greater role for AIR and DD within the region, so that the investor community can come here. He held the view that facilities in Doordarshan Jalpaiguri are underutilized and underscored the need for starting of news services from AIR and DD in Siliguri. Smt. Sen also supported the view that the Jalpaiguri DDK need be developed more to serve the area in a better way. Sh. Narbula in his remarks said that, "It is my honorous duty to take cognizance of all your problems as you come in my constituency". He expressed shock at the goings on in Batasia, where government had purchased a land for an FM station, but someone else has taken over this land. Sh. R.R. Prasad sought to clarify the position on the Batasia episode. He stated that the department has now taken up the issue with the state government and hoped for an early resolution. Sh. Chaudhary also expressed his helplessness when he explained how a 10 KW FM station is grossly underutilized as only one transmission is going from Siliguri FM at the moment. This transmission too is being run by the existing staff strength of AIR Siliguri, who deserve full credit for the popularity of the station. The later half of the evening was truly an open session when many of our staff members and their wards displayed their talents in singing and dancing. Performances of some of our engineering colleagues were purely amazing. These colleagues in fact set an example by not limiting themselves to the technical matters, but also trying out their hands in the related fields like art and music. Co-operation of other wings of AIR and DD in making this conference a success is worth mentioning here. Items performed by Sh. Ijjat Singh (ASD, AIR Kurseong) deserve special mention.
    The successful State Convention was organised in a very disciplined manner, thanks to the untiring efforts of the Convenors Sh A.K. Sarkar and Sh. S. Dasgupta. Sh. Dhruba Bhaumik (State Sec) and his team ably supported the convenors. Organisers made special mention of Sh. R.N. Chaudhary, Supdt Engineer (AIR Siliguri) for his co-operation and advice in making the convention a grand success. Sh. Jiten Roy, ASE took special interest and attended all the sessions of the convention.