Sunday, January 11, 2009

Are we living in a democracy

55000 plus oil sector officers, an equal no. workers / staffs and their families are wondering this for last few days. If you think you live in democracy and you have many rights then just read on.

In my earlier post I had mentioned about the lose-lose situation out of the conflict between oil PSU officers and the Govt. The impasse had ended in a lose-lose situation for both. The oil PSU officers strike was literally crushed the most undemocratic way using brute force and false propaganda. The govt which could not even get a single terrorist leader sitting in Pakistan arrested till now had different ideas this time. What if they cannot stop Pakistan, they can certainly crush the voices raised from within the country. What govt did to crush the voices of these officers is unprecedented in our history and has made our head hang is shame.

To crush the agitation, a vilification campaign against the officers association in the media was launched. None in media asked the question as to why the strike took place. We know that media is sellable in India. But we never thought that it will stoop down to such an extent. Zee news even ran a programme calling the officers Deshdrohi. Most of these officers are professionals and pass out from top institutes of India including the IITs and IIMs. They became 'deshdrohi' because they had decided to serve the nation by serving a PSU rather than an MNC. 22 of them lost their lives not so long ago serving the nation in Bombay High and many over the years. Even former President Dr Kalam inaugurated a monument in Dehradun in 2004 dedicated to those brave ONGCians who lost lives serving the nation. But now this congress govt got them branded them as deshdrohis through a sellable cheap TV channel like Zee.

The main reason for strike was to get a pay revision as per Justice Rao committee recommendation. It has been 12 years since last pay revision. How can an organisation retain talents without proper remuneration? Media should have understood that these PSUs are not like govt departments. They are public companies where govt is a major shareholder and they are competing with the best in the world. For example, ONGC is the only Indian company listed in Fortune-500. It has been giving the nation thousands of crores of profit every year. It is possible because it has been able to attract some of the best talent from the top institutes of India. If the govt starts treating them like another govt department then the days are not far when such companies will become sick. During these 12 years, other govt departments had got two pay revisions. But oil PSUs had none. When it ome to their own pay revision, the babus got their salaries revised with hikes more than recommendation of pay revision committee. But when it comes to the PSUs which earn money for the nation, it was scaled down from the pay revision committee recommendations. This is the root of the problem. The pay revision proposed is different from the Justice Rao Committee recommendation. It is prepared by some cunning babus in govt. If the babus were suppose to propose the revision, then why a committee was set up? If implemented the pay revision will actually result in recovery rather than arrear for these PSU employees.

The media showed what govt wanted without bothering to verify them. The govt got it published that the entry level salary for these officers is Rs.1 lakh per month. That is a white lie. Every one of these officers is wondering as to how the salaries are one lakh per month. In fact they will be more than happy if they are paid such a hefty salary. It is understood that a number of interviews were given by PSU leaders during the strike, but none of them were shown. Why it was not shown is easily understandable. And yet we tend to believe that the media is impartial. Leaders were booked under multiple false cases. Rather than attending discussions with govt, they were made to run for life. During this time govt kept getting published that the PSU leaders are adamant and do not want discussion. Then they sent police to find employees and took them at gunpoint and made to work. Unbelievable but real. What a common man like me or you can do when govt is out to get you like that. The shocker is that 64 officers in ONGC, 3 in IOC and 3 in GAIL were handed termination order.

The strike was literally crushed. But this set an alarming precedence. The strike suffered because it was apolitical and struggle of some common people. The leaders of OSOA may have their own political inclination, but the apex body OSOA had no political affiliation. So no political party came to support and govt did what it want. It just crushed the agitation. The message was clear : Common man should not dare to protest. Do you still think that you are living in a democracy?

The realisation of the govt action has started to dawn gradually. This has set dangerous precedence. Voices are rising in political circles over the way govt handled the strike. CPI(M) had passed a resolution condemning such undemocratic action of govt. Every one hope that these officers who were dismissed fighting for 55000 people get their jobs back. It is important that common people should raise their voice against such action of govt. Otherwise you will lose your right to raise concerns. It is heartening to see that voices had risen in the net over such action of govt. But such voices should turn into a movement so that we can live without any fear.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rups,
So much thanks for the positive view points
Arun, Malaysia

Anonymous said...

Each and every word tell the true story of the congress govt. and role of the media. This action (to crush the officers legitimate strike) of the govt. can be termed as most undemocratic and autocratic. This action on the part of the govt. gives a very bleak picture of the future of the country. The common people should go through the column published by Mr Subir Raha, former CMD of ONGC in the Indian Express newspaper dated 12 Jan 09. That will reveal the real characteristics of the bureacrats who pretend to be gentlemen and wants the oil men to be gentlemen.