Saturday, September 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Telecom strike called off

NEW DELHI, Sept 8 (UNI) — More than three lakh striking workers of telecom unions called off their stir late tonight as Communications Minister Ram Vilas Paswan agreed to their demands.

“There were some misunderstandings with the federations. Had these been sorted out earlier the strike could have ended amicably much before,’’ Mr Paswan said here tonight.

The employees’ interest will remain secure,’’ the Minister assured the two striking federations.

After his airdash to Delhi from Bhopal tonight, the Minister said an agreement was reached between the National Federation of Telecom Employees and the Federation of National Telecom Organisations and the Department of Telecom Services (DTS) today to call off the stir.

The agreement includes:

— Financial viability: adequate safeguards in respect of losses due to uneconomical services and liberalisation policy of the government will be ensured.

— Pension: pension as per government rules will be reimbursed from Consolidated Fund of India.

— Job security: protection available to PSU employees will continue even after disinvestment of the PSU beyond 51 per cent.

— G.P.F.: GPF will be continued as of now, except that the account will be maintained by the PSU.

— Reservation policy: the PSU will adopt the government policy.

— Victimisation: past cases will be reviewed with a liberal view. There will not be vindictive action with regard to indefinite strike from September 6.

— Pending issues: an understanding will be reached which will form part of this agreement.


Supplies to troops disrupted
From S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

SHIMLA, Sept 8 — The winter supplies for troops deployed in forward areas bordering Chinese-occupied Tibet have been disrupted because of extensive damage to the Hindustan-Tibet highway in the recent flashfloods.

The winter stockings for Army personnel in these areas are being carried in helicopters as the authorities are not sure if the road will be re-opened. Normally, these supplies, including winter clothing, rations and ammunition, were carried by Army convoys from August 15 to October 15 before the first snowfall.

However, the flashfloods which struck the tribal area on July 31, has washed away the road at many places. At least three major bridges have been knocked down.

The Army authorities are left with no alternative but to carry the supplies for the brigade in helicopters, which is a very expensive mode. A large helicopter carries about 1.5 tonnes of load to the forward areas situated at a high altitude, against three tonnes of load carried by a truck. Winter stockings for at least three months are normally stored in the forward pickets.

The entire stocking schedule has been upset because of the damage to roads and bridges. These supplies are carried on mules to forward pickets located in a difficult terrain.

Brig B.M. Bakshi, Chief Engineer of Project Deepak of the Border Roads Organisation, which maintains the road, said initially the bridge at Khab was targeted for reconstruction by September 15. However, work on the bridge was getting delayed because a slide became suddenly active, cutting the area into six portions. This upset the working schedule on damaged roads and bridges.

Three major bridges, including Khab, Shong-Tong and Karcham, were washed away in the floods. 

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