Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Minutes of the VII BGM Held at Madurai

Minutes of the VII BGM Held at Madurai on 23rd & 24th July 2012

As decided by the Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting at Kharagpur on 22.02.2012, the Seventh Biennial General body meeting of All India Railway Accounts Staff Association was held at Madurai on 23rd and 24th of July 2012. The delegates, many of them with their families, started arriving at Madurai and Chennai even two days earlier. Accountsmen from distant corners of the country had left their home towns by weekly trains, etc many days earlier heeding to and paying regard to the call given by the Association in contrast to the lukewarm response and lackadaisical attitude of the host - railway members of the fraternity. The monotony of the long journey and the late running of the trains by many hours from Maligaon, Chakradarpur, etc.., had not spoiled the spirit of the delegates and the comrades from the Eastern most part and North East Frontier Railways were most enthusiastic. My heart reach out for them. And our comrades from various zones had not come empty handed - they came with heartful of love and fervour and handful of money. The membership contribution alone came to Rupees one lakh apart from the delegate fee of Rs 200/- per head. And the host division comrades Madurai led by Comrades P.S. Anand, B.P. R. Patel, Antony Selvan, S. Kumar, Syed Ibrahim, B.T. Muralikrishnan, B.Mohan, P. Nagaraj, Sivaramakrishnan, et al took enormous efforts, despite the limitations and braving the spoilers’ attempt to subvert the unity, made the event a great success for which the central committee records its appreciation and gratefulness to the organizers. Thank You Madurai !

            The first day proceedings of the VII BGM at Thai Lakshmi Kalyana Mahal, S.S. Colony, Arasaradi, T.B. Road, Madurai started on the holy day of Nagpanchami, the 23rd of July 2012 at 11 a.m. with prayer and lighting of traditional lamb by the chief guest and central office - bearers. Then the meeting was inaugurated by Chief Guest Com. R. Soundarapandian and Rtd. Loco Pilot and veteran leader of AILRSA. Comrades R. Sankara Narayanan Divisional Secretary / DREU, S. Gopalakrishnan, Divisional Secretary / SRES, R. Kalyana Sundaram, Zonal Secretary/ AIREC and R. Udayakumar, leader of All India Guards Council addressed the audience and offered felicitations.

Then General Secretary’s Report was presented by M.S. Unnikrishnan Nair, Additional General Secretary who has been ‘in charge’ as Acting General Secretary since authorised by the CWC meeting at Khragpur on 22.02.2012 consequent on the resignation of Shri. N. Srinivasan due to his selection to group. B Gazetted Cadre. The report outlined the activities since the last BGM held at Nagpur during 18th and 19th November 2012. The General Secretary (i/c) in his speech recalled the other five BGMs held at Bhubaneswar, New Delhi, Jalandhar, Vijayawada and Kolkatta.

Delhi Visits

            The report detailed the efforts of the then GS. N. Srinivasan and then Working President Partha Bhattacharyya and others camping at Delhi during 29th & 30th of November 2012 to push forward the pending demands of Accounts staff. They were able to convince Financial Commissioner and Board officials about the MACP anomalies and the need for restructuring the cadre, including affording Group B status to all SOs/TIAs/ISAs. The same was effectively pursued by Shri. N Srinivasan, Shri Partha Bhattacharyya and others during their repeat visit and stay @ NDLS from 21.2.2011 to 23.02.2011. They impressed the newly taken over Additional Member (Finance), Executive Director (Pay Commission) - I and other Board officials about the genuineness of the demands and the urgency involved in taking corrective measures.

CWC meeting @ Delhi on 15.07.2011

            The meeting presided over by President R.K. Saraswat condoled the death of P.M. Balai, CWC member and Sri. Mohanraj, Joint Secretary, South Zone. GS N. Srinivasan, Working President Partha Bhattacharyya, President R.K. Saraswat, the organizer of the meeting at Bharat Ghar in Railway colony Com. Joginder Babbar, Secretary Communications Rameshkumar along with other CWC members Ekta Gupta, Ashok Dwivedi, Nanoma, Sudhakar, Rakesh Gupta, Shajad Ahmad, Suryanarayana, Ashish Das, Kamaleshwar Chaturvedi, Somachand Bhringraj, B.K. Panda and Regi George co-ordinated meetings with Railway Board officials.

CWC meeting at Kharagpur

            The report also dwelt at length about the proceedings of the CWC @ KGP. The report detailed the proceedings of the KGP meeting and recorded the CWC’s resolution authorising M.S. Unnikrishnan Nair, additional General Secretary to act as General Secretary in place of Shri. N. Srinivasan who resigned on his selection to Group B gazetted cadre.

Meeting Hon’ble Railway Minister

            After KGP meeting, Working President Partha Bhattacharyya met Sri. Mukul Roy, Hon. MR and congratulated him on his assuming office. On his advice, Shri Partha Bhattacharyya took separate appointment with him and met him at Kolkata, submitted papers on all pending demands duly briefing him. The MR acknowledged positively and promised favourable action.

Delhi Visit

            The report also mentioned about the Delhi visit of President R.K. Saraswat and Working President Partha Bhattacharyya who met the FC and discussed the pending demands. They also invited FC for the Madurai Meeting. Though she cited official engagements, promised to try to attend the seminar of the second day of the  BGM, if possible. Regarding the pending demands, she said MACP anomalies issue has once again been referred to DOPT. She also directed the Pay Commissions directorate of the Board to review the issue of granting Group ‘B’ status to SrSO(A)s/SrTIAs/SriSAs.

July 4, 2012 Demands Day

            The GS (i/c) said he was addressing the BGM with the satisfaction of organizing a campaign at all India level with the successful observance of July 4 as Demands Day. He also cited the overwhelming support of the Accounts fraternity and the general railway community expressed to the call for providing lap top to all employees, Rs 15000 minimum bonus and CCL for either mother or father who looks after the child. The General secretary congratulated the comrades and members of the fraternity in CLW, Eastern Railway, NEF Railway, SE Railway, Southern Railway and specially the Divisions / units CLW, Kolkata, ER Hd. Quarters, SER Hd.Qrs, all their divisions, Sealdah, HWH, KGP, Maligaon, TVC, PGT, SA, MDU, Chennai and the leaders Partha Bhattacharyya, Ashish Das, Suryanarayana, Tapan Baisya, Nirmal Dey, Dilip Tamuly, Prasantha Mahanta, N.K. Mandal, Nirmal Raj, Sabarinath, Regi George, Pugalendhi, John Rose, P.S. Anand, Antony Selvam, et al for their leadership and commitment. He wanted others also to be pro-active. The acting General Secretary recalled that he had taken over charge at a time when there were no contributions or membership campaign for more than two years. The total subscription collected during the year was only Rs. 5,218 and spending for one year on account of air ticket alone came to Rs. 18,306/- and other travelling Rs. 11,593/-.  GS said no organization could survive like this. He recalled the days of the struggle for improved pay scales and reminded the sacrifices of each member and every leader. He also stated that his committee members and himself continue the endeavour in the same spirit dedicated to the cause and urged the members of the fraternity to realise the challenges before them, recognize their blood and come together under the umbrella of AIRASA for improving their career prospects and enhancing the quality of their service to the society. General Secretary’s report also enumerated the pending demands as follows:

1. Implement arbitration award, notionally from 1986, with credit of arrears to PF as negotiated earlier.

2. Grant improved pay scale arrears.

3. Give parity with Central Secretariat.

4. Implement various court/CAT judgements granting arrears, giving higher Grade pay and affording ACP to various grades.

5. Implement MACP allowing higher grade pay as per the next above grade in the cadre hierarchy.

6. Earmark 10% for SrAA and give GP 4800.

7. Give 5% unqualified SO for SrAA and give Grade Pay 5400.

8. Give GP 5400 for all SOs.

9. Upgrade the GP of seniors at par when juniors are given progression.

10.Give Group B status to SO/TIA/ISA cadre as in other Audit & Accounts and Secretariat.

11. Passing trainee exam /IIA or promotion to recruitment grade as well as absorption in Direct quota may be treated as entry level and MACP given afresh without counting past promotions to all Accounts Clerk (CG II) promotees.

12. As SV is not a promotion post in regular cadre, don’t deny MACP to those who opted to work as Stock Verifiers.

13. Promote all staff of Accounts with Grade Pay of 1,800 and above as Accounts Clerk as a one time measure.

14. One time exemption for all accounts Clerks as discussed on 26.6.2012 at Board office may be implemented and all ACs with 10 years of service may be promoted as JAAs.

15. All SrSO/SrTIA/SrISAs who are put in 20 years in the same post/scale may be given fixation in PB-3.

16. Re-designate the Accounts posts and name change may be given as follows :

            Peon - Office Assistant

            Record Sorter - Record Clerk

            AC - Accounts Assistant

            JAA - Junior Accountant

            AA - Senior Accountant

            SrAA - Supervisor

            SV- Stores Auditor

            SrSV - Senior Stores Auditor

            SrSO(A) - Assistant Accounts Officer

            SrTIA - Assistant Accounts Officer / Station Inspection (SN)

            SrISA - Assistant Accounts Officer / Stores Inspection (SI)

17. Increase the strength of TIA &ISA cadre like SOs and provide promotion for all clerks who have passed exam and kept waiting since 1993.

18. Grant next above GP for all Gr. D, AC, JAA, AA, ASV, Sr.SV, Sr.SO(A)/ SrTIA/ SrISA, Steno, Typist, FPE and cash & Pay Staff.

19. Restore 3 additional increments for SVs for passing Appendix IVA and increase the Sr.ASV to 80%.

20. Restore qualifying increment in lieu of qualification allowance for passing IIA & IIIA, ICWA, MBA, CFA, PGDFM and grant PG allowance for all post-graduates.

21. Bring Cash & Pay staff in main stream and afford them promotion and ACP on out of turn basis.

22. Create Unified Accounts cadre including Data Processing Cadre (EDPC) as recommended by VI PC.

23. Implement the recommendation of Petition Committee of Parliament regarding Railway Accounts Staff grievance.

24. Fill up all vacancies and stop surrender of posts.

25. Give recognition for AIRASA, the arm and voice of Accounts.

                        GS also circulated the ‘Message’ from the Hon’ble Railway Minister greeting “AIRASA, the only organization of Accounts Department of Indian Railways” and thanked MR for the same and said Accounts fraternity got great expectations from him. GS said this marked a beginning and stated, the success saga of AIRASA would continue and its flag would fly high in the coming days provided the Accounts staff stand by it solidly. He also thanked comrades Partha Bhattacharyya and Ashishdas for co-ordinating with MR’s office.

                        Com. Reji George then presented the Financial Report. Discussion on the Annual Report and Financial Statement followed.

                        Com Ashishdas, E-Rly opened the discussion. He appreciated the call for observing ‘demands day’ and said it was the first agitation after a long gap. He detailed the July 4 campign, printing and wearing of badges, postering, etc. He said all divisions participated in the same. He also took pride in co-ordinating with the MR office and obtaining his message, the first direct contact with a Railway Minister after almost a decade’s gap. Com. P. Suryanarayana of E.Rly who spoke next pointed out that the telephone bill of Rs. 5,129/- is almost equalling the meagre and shamefully low membership contribution. He said still there was a communication gap and the cadres were not knowing what was happening.

He also pointed out the ever ‘dwinding’ nature of Accounts staff strength and said the ‘no new recruitment’ policy in Accounts is affecting the efficiency, work culture and morale of the available staff. He said, even after CWC/KGP, nothing took place in other zones where Demands Day was not observed. They lost touch with ordinary Accounts staff. Com. Dubey pointed out formation of new body @ Allahabad, NC Railway Head Quarters. Com. Dinesh Dixit of Western Railway pointed out the financial crisis the organization was facing. He regretted that collection was very little and all the Divisional and Zonal bodies should go all out for membership and donation mobilization. His comparison of AIRASA with an anecdote of Raja Ramachandra interested all. Com. S. Kumar of MDU division wanted the ‘Assistant’ part of all designations to be removed. He urged for deletion of ‘Assistant’ from the proposed ‘Assistant Accounts Officer’ designation for SSO(A)/SrTIA/SrISA. He called for defeating the false propaganda that the Association was for SOs and wanted the Accounts staff to realise the mischief played by the unions. He also wanted the leadership to dispel the impression that AIRASA is not doing anything for TIAs. He also handed over a staff representation requesting for MACP to the GS@stage. Com. Naidu, C.Rly (Bushawal) wanted to know why the central expenditure was borne by south zone. He criticised the lack of communication from central leadership and said even KGP meeting was not informed. He also wanted to know why there was no representation from Sholapur, Nagpur, etc., Com. Dilip Tamuli, NF rly, emphasised unity and wanted agitations to achieve pending demands. Com. Govindarajalu, BZA, S.C. Rly wanted cadre restructuring and called for higher percentage up in the ladder to afford more promotion. Com. C.P.Singh, NW Railway wanted 5% provision for SrAAs. Com. Nirmal Dey, CLW reminisced the days of struggle and wanted the Association to be revitakised. Com. Chengappa, SC Railway, called for intensive membership campaign and wanted at least 90% of the staff to be enrolled as members. He wanted membership books to start collection in SC zone. He also urged the Associates to take effort to regain the lost spirit if AIRASA. And he emphasised the need for AIRASA to remain prepared during the time of ballot for Trade Union recognition. Com. P. Nanoma pointed out instances of denial of MACP even to eligible staff on account of their transfer. He cited such cases of penalising the employees even for the mistake of administration. Com. Ashok Dwivedi, W. Rly, opined that the jumbo committee elected @ NGP didnt work well. He said even ‘SMS’ is a means of communication. He faulted the current trend of not making any collection. He said when there were meetings, people were coming and going and nothing happened. Resolutions were passed but nothing materialised. He recalled the past contributions of leaders who couldn’t attend. He urged for formating a good team to take the Association forward. Com. Maruti Prasad of KGP recalled the days of agitation after V PC and the role of KGP division in spreading the message of AIRASA. He quoted Com. S.K. Vyas telling how the Railway Federations were spoiling things. Com. Partha Bhattacharjee II of KPA/Workshop, E.Rly regretted that no body was discussing specific points mentioned in the Report. He wanted more focused deliberations. He appreciated that the GS Report was full of positives. The gloomy financial picture is a matter of concern. He pointed out the loss of parity with Central Secretariat and even other Accounts & Audit services. He faulted singling out Railway Accounts alone without affording the just and due Group B status to its Rs. 7500 pre-revised scale apex staff which is a discrimination and disgrace. He said he was left with only one more year’s service, but would continue to associate himself with AIRASA activities even after retirement which was received with loud applause by the delegates. Com. S.K.Dhabol, SrTIA, ADI, SE Railway who spoke next wanted bonus to be ‘cash based’ as demanded by AIRASA now rather than ‘day based’ which is cheating. He demanded IA pass for all SrSO/SrISA/SrTIA cadre and wanted parents to be included as ‘family’.

                        Then winding up the discussion, General Secretary said he would reply to the deliberations the next day morning. Com. Regi George was invited to offer clarifications on accounts and give details of the contributions received at the venue. He explained the accounts and gave details of Rs. 89,500/- collected till such time on the day, which received thunderous applause. Then the meeting accepted finance report with clap of hands and the day’s proceedings were declared as concluded by the President.

                        The proceedings of the second day, ie 24.7.2012 began around 10.30 a.m with two minutes silence, the session paying homage to those departed souls of the fraternity and also paying obeisance to the memory of those who passed away during the period between the sessions who contributed to the country and society. The meeting also paid tributes to the leaders who retired from service, viz. Com. Ekta Sabnam who retired on 29.02.2012, Comrades Velayudham and Gangaian, still earlier, and remembered their contributions.

          Then Com. R. Elangovan, Working President, DREU made felicitatory address. He eulogised the role of AIRASA in getting recognition for DREU. He also acknowledged the campaign done by comrades like N. Srinivasan, Regi George, B.P.R. Patel, P.S. Anand, M.S. Unnikrishnan, et al which made the recognition possible. He also narrated the assistance rendered by DREU in AIRASA’s struggle for improved pay scales. He dwelt at length about the various anomalies of Accounts cadre and declared the Union’s intent to fight for Accounts cadre on its own as well as jointly with AIRASA.

                        Then General Secretary(i/c) replied to the deliberations. He thanked the host committee and Madurai comrades for the reception and hospitality arrangements. GS thanked all for observing July 4 Demands Day and said others should follow such positiveness and participation in re-vitalising the organization. Regarding communication gap, he said it was a thing of the past and that he would keep in touch. Regarding finances, he said the positive trend of the day should be followed and resource mobilization should be given priority. Regarding expenditure, GS said, Austerity measure is for Association also and that flight charges should be curtailed. He reminded that those who do not mobilise funds do not get the right to spend it also. Similarly those who are not members and who have not enrolled members in their unit cannot get elected to zonal or central body. GS also pointed out that our office-bearers cannot be members of other unions/associations and other Union / Association office bearers cannot become members of AIRASA. He also cautioned the members and office-bearers not to write to Government or administration fresh letters without the knowledge of GS and letters to Railway Board or minister or MPs/ committees should go only under the signature of GS or President. Right to correspondence lies with GS and other communication will be the look out of Secretary, Communication. Regarding the demands part, he said the twenty five point charter would take care of all that and that we have asked for one GP higher and our target should be parity with CSS which meant Gazetted for SOs, and Group ‘B’ status for AAs. Regarding the demand for 5% of combined strength for SrAA, GS said our demand was for 10%.

                        GS then pointed out the sacrifices of the past and said the office bearers including himself were still putting a lot of effort at their cost due to the financial constraints of the Association. He reiterated the resolve to take on more strongly and wanted the members to stand by him and his office-bearers in the coming days so that an all India struggle can be ignited and said, the wind was favourable and the same should be made use of. He then concluded the reply, requested the BGM to pass the report which was positively responded by the members with loud applause. The report was declared as passed.

                        The General Secretary (i/c) then went on to submit the proposed list of new office-bearers, as suggested by the Working Committee meeting held the previous night. He took leave of the General Body to submit the proposed panel which was approved by voice. Then the following list of office bearers was read out:

President : Partha bhattacharyya

Working President : R.K. Sarawat

General Secretary : M.S. Unnikrishnan Nair

Secretary Finance : Regi George

Vice Presidents : Ashish Das, E.Rly.

C. Sarath Baby, W.Rly.

P. Mahanta, N.F. Rly.

C.M. Chengappa, S.W.Rly

Rakesh Guptha, N.Rly.

D. Govindarajalu, S.C.Rly.

C.P. Singh, N.W. Rly

Additional General Secretaries : Ashok Dwivedi, D. Nageswara Rao.

Secretaries Communication : R. Ramani, S. Rly, Ramesh Kumar, COF MOW, Tapan Baisya, CLW

Dy. General Secretaries : R.K. Mishra, C. Rly, P.S. Anand, S.Rly, P. Suryanarayana, S.E.Rly.

Central Organising Secretaries : Shailendra Kumar, E.C.Rly, Mehboob Jakati, W.Rly, N.K.Mondal, N.F.Rly, Chitra Ganesan, S.Rly, Md. Dawood, S.C.Rly, Somchand Bhringraj, SEC Rly, S. Suryanarayana Rao, C.Rly.

Joint Secretaries : K. Chaturvedi, S.E.Rly, K.C. Tripathi, E.Co Rly, Mukesh Khare, N.C.Rly, C. Govindaraju,ICF,

T.S. Mohan, SW.Rly, Utham Kumar Guptha, E.C.Rly, Subrato Sankar, E.Rly.

            The list was read out a second time and called out for any new names, nominations or suggestions. There were no fresh proposal and the applause showed unity and unanimity of choice. Then every name was read out separately and the same was approved with clap of hands. Then the panel of office-bearers was declared as elected, to the thunderous clap of hands.

                        The media coverage of the event was unprecedented. Channel interviews and photo-shoot started at 11 a.m was continuing and the Press-meet and Reporters’ face to face which began at 12 noon was still going on. The whole media had descended on the AIRASA BGM venue and the direct beaming was a privilege and pleasure for the delegates. State and Central intelligence and Railway vigilance made elaborate report of the event and the demands.

                        The meeting which took break for lunch reassembled at 5’o clock for the evening Open Session and seminar on ‘Modern Trend of Accounting’. The meeting was presided over by president Partha Bhattacharyya and M.S. Unnikrishnan Nair, General Secretary welcomed the guests and delegates while delivering the key-note address. The DRM Shri. A.K. Goel, new DRM of Madurai Shri. Rastogi, ADRM Shri. Ajith Kumar, Auditor S.D. Pakiaraj, F.C.A, Shri.N.Srinivasan, AFA/MTP and Sr DFM Smt. Selvalakshmi spoke on the seminar as special invitees. Sr. DAuO Shri. Vayyalimuthu, SrEDPM Shri. N. Mohan, ADFM K. Sakthivel, ADFM Shri. L. Lakshmana Perumal and SrAFA/CN Shri. S.M.V. Saravanan were the guests of honour. Shri. N. Srinivasan, AFA/MTP who was the previous General Secretary of the Association who was the special guest on the occasion was honoured with a memento as a token of love and regard. Com. Regi George Secretary Finance extended vote of thanks.

Dear Comrades,

                        The Madurai meeting ended with a happy note. We have tried to accommodate all cadres, all zones and all regions in the new committee. We have only made slight adjustments and there are only two new faces. We are giving previous committee members another innings to perform. And we want a performing CWC and days of achievement ahead. All the zonal committees should be revamped and made to function. Every office-bearer should report his functioning. Please feel free to call the General Secretary in his new no. 09895785894, any time. We can work together towards achieving our pending demands, in a new direction of professionalism, dedicated service to the nation and enhanced career prospects. Please forget the small small differences within the cadre and be on the guard against the satanic verses of general and political trade unionists who are out to destroy the unity and dignity of the cadre. Regarding the stand during Referendum, decision should be taken by the zonal committees, for which guidance of CWC, if required, would be given when the time comes. AIRASA is always independent and it does not discriminate its members on the basis of their union affiliation or slant. However, AIRASA would help those who help AIRASA. And AIRASA cannot allow its integrity to be questioned and solidarity of the cadre to be disturbed. The sign of independence is the freedom of choice also which AIRASA has. Camaraderie has to be developed through joint struggles. I request our comrades to go through GS Report and this minutes, give publicity to it and make use of the same. I once again thank all the participants of the VII BGM @ MDU and profusely thank my Madurai comrades.

Best Wishes.

With regards,

                                                  (M.S. Unnikrishnan Nair)

                                                                                                                        General Secretary

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