Monday, June 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Telecom Dept to be bifurcated
Agitating staff call off stir
Tribune News Service & UNI

NEW DELHI, June 25 — Bowing to pressure from powerful employees associations, the Centre today decided to bifurcate the Department of Telecom Services (DTS) by creating a new Department of Telecom Operations and conceding to the associations’ demand to let a technical person head such services.

The decision was announced by the Communications Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, at a press conference here today.

Following the agreement, telecom employees withdrew their 25-day old work-to-rule agitation

“The government has decided to bifurcate the Department of Telecom Services into the Department of Telecom Services and the Department of Telecom Operations. The Secretary of the newly created department will be from the Indian Technical Services (ITS) cadre,” Mr Paswan said.

The move is seen as an attempt to placate the powerful associations which have been agitating ever since the government appointed an IAS officer, Mr Vinod Vaish, as the DTS Secretary late last month.

In fact, since Friday telecom services, especially long distance ones, have been disrupted and the core issue behind it is said to be demand of ITS officers that only a cadre officer should head the DTS.

The disruption coincided with Mr Paswan’s return to India after a 10-day tour of the USA and England. The ITS officers had gone on mass casual leave on that day and claimed they had no hand in the disruption.

Mr Paswan said it was left to the Cabinet Secretariat to allocate work to the Secretary of the new department in consultation with the Prime Minister. He parried questions on what work would be left for the DTS Secretary once services were transferred to operations.

Although the ITS associations have yet to call of their proposed strike on June 28, the president of the Indian Telecom Services Association, Mr Ashok Kumar Sinha, who was also present at the conference, assured that there would be no disruption in services even as the general body would meet tomorrow to review the situation.

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