The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Together, in times of trouble
- Clubs feel need for united platform to tackle common problems

Clubbing together could well be the theme for city clubs struggling to find solutions to common problems.

With the city’s favourite fairways rendered off-limits to golfing enthusiasts, the focus is back on the condition of clubs in Calcutta. It was exactly two years ago that Saturday Club had suffered an 80-day shutdown because of labour trouble.

And now, Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) and Saturday Club, with a combined age of 277 years, have agreed on the need for a common platform of city clubs to discuss shared woes, seek common solutions and even explore the possibility of a parity in agreements with labour unions. All to ensure that the famed Calcutta club culture survives and thrives.

“There are so many areas of commonality, and given the present situation, I think club managements should put their heads together more frequently to dwell on issues that affect everybody. That’s the only way we can all survive,” M.M. Singh, CEO of RCGC told Metro on Friday. Singh, who suffered “severe concussion and cervical trauma” after being roughed up by agitating club employees on Tuesday, is recovering in a South Calcutta hospital while operations at 18, Golf Club Road remain suspended. RCGC, which convened an emergency meeting on May Day attended by committee members and past captains, said on Friday it is open to dialogue with the labour union, but on its “own terms”. Captain Asit Luthra confirmed efforts are on to arrange “temporary use of facilities” at other clubs for members of the Royal.

“Yes, we are ready to accommodate RCGC members to help the club tide over its crisis,” said Saturday Club president Shekhar Barman, who concurred with Singh that clubs should help each other out in these trying times. “We should have a lot more interaction amongst us, more so, since militant trade unionism seems to be back in town,” Barman added.

While there is a forum of club presidents which meets once every quarter, many feel there could be structured CEO and secretary-level talks, as a supplementary platform. “A breakthrough is possible only if all the clubs come together,” observed Dipak Dutta, RCGC member and past president of Calcutta Club.

CC&FC president Arabinda Bose, keen to keep the club doors open for RCGC members denied their daily dose of the greens, shot down the idea of a common forum to discuss labour issues. “Since each club has its own ethos and the workers are affiliated to diverse political units, it may be difficult to speak in the same language,” he explained.

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