| Techies turn up for work at Wipro at the crack of dawn. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Time: 5.30 am.
Place: Sector V
Four chartered buses pull up outside the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) gate. Techies, some still groggy, step out and then step into office. At Wipro, cars big and small bring in techies from all parts of the city. Everybody is in a hurry to log in so that the strike cannot log them out...
On Monday, Sector V in Salt Lake came to work early. Very early. By the time the sun rose at 5.34 am, the city’s information technology (IT) hub was all abustle.
Trinamul Congress had said it would not exempt Sector V from the 12-hour strike, but the 24x7 industry had other ideas — with more than able support from the state machinery, of course.
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s IT brigade came in buses, cars, two-wheelers and three-wheelers, and all before the clock struck six. Clearly, there was going to be no repeat of the September 29, 2005, Citu strike or the October 4 Bangalore bandh.
By the end of Monday, most companies in tech town said: “It was business as usual, a normal day at work for us.”
Not quite, for all those whose day began some five hours too early. “My shift starts at 10. But to avoid any harassment by the bandh supporters, we have all come in early,” said Sneha Mehta, a resident of Rashbehari Avenue, before entering the Wipro campus at 5.55 am.
No critical or support functions were impeded by the bandh at CTS. “We had made arrangements to bring in our employees safe and sound. Some who handle critical functions stayed overnight. The idea was to get started before the strike,” said vice-president Siddhartha Mukherjee.
The “normal attendance figures” at Sector V drew a smile from IT minister Debesh Das, doing the rounds of the township in the morning.
“The bandh has been completely unsuccessful in Sector V, where it’s work as usual. We deployed extra force to tackle any untoward incident,” said Das, referring to the unprecedented security cover at each entrance to ensure normalcy.
So, while the rest of the city enjoyed the last day of an extended weekend, the new-found work culture in Buddhababu’s tech bastion sparked an all-action morning followed by all-day slog. But the shadow of the bandh refuses to fade, with December 14 the none-too-distant date for a strike by Left trade unions.
“Strikes will always pull us back, no matter who calls it,” warned D.K. Chaudhuri, CEO, SkyTech Solutions.