Port Blair, Feb. 24: A patriotic song concert was organised by All India Radio, Port Blair at Girl’s School auditorium yesterday evening. Shri Lucas Robert, Director, Sports, Art & Culture, A&N Administration was the chief guest.

The programme began with Saraswati Vandana, which was followed by group songs by students of DIET, singers from Sur Sangam, Students of Nirmala SS School, Students from AMC and Cathedral Choir.

The two hour programme also included group dance, which was much enjoyed by the audience.


Port Blair, Feb. 24: In a totally unheard of precedence, two households of Shore Point Gram Panchayat came under selective implementation of Electricity rule provisions on the night of 14th Feb. As per reports, a couple of personnel from Bambooflat site office first barged in a house hosting a marriage party and brought an abrupt halt to the ceremony by disconnecting electricity to the household at about 8pm in the evening. Similarly Electricity connection to another household also engaged in Marriage Celebration was disconnected at about 11 pm in the night the same day.

In both the instances, the parents (registered consumer) and villagers attending the function pleaded with the officials to allow some time so that rituals connected with the Marriage could be concluded and guests could return to their respective homes. But the electricity personnel ignoring the request preferred to push the household in darkness.

The village Pradhan was thus intimated who rushed to the spot only to find lower rung employees armed with cutting pliers on the spot. When asked about the urgency, they said disconnection has been affected on the orders of the Junior Engineer. Thereafter the Junior Engineer was contacted over phone but the village Pradhan’s request did not cut the ice with the JE. He remained adamant and justified disconnection in the middle of the celebration that too in the night.

In the larger interest of the prospective brides, grooms, their parents and guests, the matter was therefore taken up at the highest level in the Electricity Department, which ultimately resulted in restoration of electricity connection and the marriage ceremony was thus concluded.

Investigation into the incident revealed the apparent reason for disconnection being failure of the concerned consumers to intimate the department about increase in connected load but it is alleged that a broken deal is at the heart of the incident, which prompted the Bambooflat site office to resort to disconnection in the middle of the function that too in the night. Since the allegations could not be verified contents of the alleged deal has not been elaborated here. However the incident did exposed the incompetence of the concerned site engineer, who is known to nurse an ego following higher officials’ intervention in the incident.


Port Blair, Feb. 22: In support of the two-day All India Strike on 20-21 February, 2013, local units of the central trade unions and government employees’ organizations on 21st Feb. 2013 organized mass dharna, procession and public meetings in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The main programme was held at Tiranga Park, Aberdeen Bazar, Port Blair where workers and employees from various central trade unions and Associations sat on Mass Dharna from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thereafter, a procession was taken out in the town at 4.15 p.m. which culminated in massive public meeting at Tiranga Park. 

Addressing the meeting,  Shri B. Chandrachoodan, General Secretary, CITU A & N State Committee criticized the central government for pursuing various anti-working class policies and dealt in detail the struggles conducted by the trade unions since 1991.  

Speaking on the occasion,  Shri D. Ayyappan, General Secretary, Non-Gazetted Govt. Officers’ Association said that  it is for the first time that all the central trade unions in the country have come together to voice their protest against the  wrong policies of the government  which affect all sections of the  working people.  He said that the central government is slowly moving towards complete privatization and outsourcing of government work.  Referring to the Disinvestment Ministry during the NDA government, he said that now, without the Disinvestment Ministry, the government is  committed to  privatise the  public sector undertakings, Banks, Insurance, etc. and referred to the  present  position of the  loss-making BSNL.  

Shri NKP Nair, General Secretary, AICCTU A & N Unit while addressing the gathering criticized the Administration for not considering various demands of the workers in the islands.  Shri Veeranna, General Secretary of BMS A & N Unit emphasized the need to fight against the corruption prevailing in various departments under the Administration.   Shri RP Sharma of HMS also spoke on the occasion.  Shri Sadanand Rai, who presided over the meeting, said that the central government is depriving the government employees of their existing benefits and referred to the introduction of New Pension Scheme during 2004.  

At Diglipur, a day-long mass dharna was organized at Diglipur Bazar in which a large number of workers from various trade unions participated. Later in the evening, a massive procession was taken out in the Diglipur bazaar which was led by Shri S. Asokan, Shri Madan Mohan Das, Shri   PG Eappen and Shri Ali Akbar.     

At Little Andaman, a procession was taken out by the workers in the Hut Bay Bazar in the evening.  

The issues raised during the  All India Strike are  (1) Take concrete measures to contain Price rise,  (2) Take concrete measures for linkage of employement protection   with the concession/incentive package offered to the entrepreneurs, (3) Ensure strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws, (4) Universal social security cover for the unorganised sector workers without any restriction and creation of a National Social Security Fund with adequate resources in line with the recommendation of NCEUS and Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour, (5) Stoppage of disinvestment in Central and State PSUs, (6) No Contractorisation of work permanent/perennial nature and payment of wages and benefits to the contract workers at the same rate as available to the regular workers of the industry /establishment (7)  Amendment of Minimum Wages Act to ensure universal coverage irrespective of the schedules and fixation of statutory minimum wage at not less than Rs.10,000/- linked with cost price index (8) Remove all ceilings on payment and eligibility of Bonus, Provident Fund; Increase the quantum of gratuity, (9) Assured statutory Pension for all and (10) Ensure Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days and immediate ratification of the ILO Conventions Nos.87 and 98.  Besides various local demands were also raised during the programme.