Friday, December 5, 2014
When I reached Vizag, I saw a number of young officers, who joined Indian Oil in 1984.They all were technically qualified from pretigeous institutions like IIT, Osmania University Engineering college etc.and inspite of their qualifications they were mortally scared of Terminal Manager. There was a manager terminal, who was moving out on trasfer, told me TM was like a god to him. He warned me not to go against him. Then there were two very interesting characters. Both were Dyputy Managers. One was almost a devotee of TM. He would do anything to please him. Another Dy. Mgr was a comic figure.He was very fond of travelling in jeep and talking over telephone. If some officers wanted to talk to him, they had to just wait at his desk and not get a chance to talk. Not that he talked something important on phone; important to him was he was on his favourite job, the job of talking on telephone. So much for introduction. TM held the officers to ransom. He refused to sanction allowances for extended hours duty, holiday duty even though such allowances were official. The threat was Annual Appraisal Reports. Officers were scared of him because they thought he might give them an average report, which would not get them promotion Within a few weeks of my joining there were elections of Officers Association. Officers of terminal, Divisional office and AFS elected me as secretary for all the three establishments in Vizag. A Dy.Mgr made a blunder of his life by giving me duty on 15th August 1986. I performed my duty and next day submitted my claim for holiday working allowance. Both the Dy. Mgrs warned me that I would incur TM’s wrath. I insisted on my allowance and threatened them that I would take up at the highest level. TM had no choice but to approve my claim. I told all officers to claim all their allowances, which they were denied. For TM there was no choice but to approve. The TM knew very little about operations. He had the blessings of union leader. Blessings come at a price. Unionised staff was happy as they always got what they wanted. It was the union leader who decided the postings of officers in various sections. The lure of promotions had the officers turn a blind eye to the shady happenings. They thought it was enough if they remained upright. All shady people observe all religious rituals, so did this TM. He built a huge temple on Port land very close to the terminal. Surprisingly even the port authorities did not object. How could they? After all some thing religious was being done. Any important official visiting the terminal had to first visit the temple, have a silk shawl and of course blessings before inspecting the terminal. Internal audit team, too, had to undergo the blessed ceremony in addition to a trip to Simhachalam, which has a famous temple. The biggest beneficiary of TM’s largess was DGM (operations).
I landed in operations as Depot Manager Gulburga in 1985. I was the only officer with an assisstant, who had started his career as an attendant. I decided that my posting in Gulburga should create problems for those who posted me there. Mediocrity is not far sighted. I knew that I was dealing with mediocrity. They did not even imagine what I would do. Railway siding was half a kilometer away and I had to go there during decantation leaving the depot at the mercy of workmen, who were not held responsible for stock loss. This was a great risk Wagons were normally placed in the afternoon, mostly after 3 pm. The railways expected that the rake would be released the same day even if it involved working upto late in the night. I started the practice of selecting a number of wagons that could be decanted before sunset, which also meant I had to work at least one hour beyond working hours. I used to decant the rest of the wagons early morning and complete the work within the free time for decanting. This meant the workers did not lose their overtime and no dummurage was paid. But the railways were unhappy as they could not arrange engine for shunting and the turnover time was affected badly. Railways complained. Just as I thought I received a nasty letter from regional office. They directed me to release the wagons the same day. I wrote back to them that my depot explosives licence was for work between sunrise and sunset and hence if I worked beyond sunset it would be contravention of explosives regulations. There was no reply. May be they tore off both the letters. They must have felt extremely helpless. Then came audit team. I did not go to station to receive them. Manager Audit was furious. I ignored him. There was no reason for me to be scared of audit. They could not transfer me immediately. They had to work with me for one full year They thought of punishing me by posting me under a man who was considered tough. What they did not take into consideration was that a man with ‘weaknesses’ couldn’t be tough