The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Strike cloud on British Telecom

Bournemouth (PTI): British Telecom could be hit by strikes if it persists in transferring call-centre jobs to India or other parts of Asia, a big British labour union warned on Monday.

The Communication Workers’ Union said up to 200,000 jobs in British call centres could be “shipped abroad” over the next five to 10 years, hurting poor areas of Britain where call centres are often based.

British Telecom, the nation’s premier telecoms provider, triggered controversy earlier this year when it announced plans to create 2,200 customer service jobs in Bangalore in a bid to save money.

At its annual conference at Bournemouth, in the south of England, the union said workers in Indian call centres were paid 80 pence (Rs 62.09) an hour compared with six pounds (Rs 465.66) an hour in Britain.

It is crude exploitation and is simply about making more profits,” said Mark Taggart, a member of the union executive. “Most companies are currently turning to India, but it could soon be Malaysia or China.” He added: “We will continue to protest and if necessary, we will take strike action.”

Jeannie Drake, the union’s deputy general secretary, said if British Telecom announced further plans to move call-centre jobs to India, a strike ballot would be called.

“I have been surprised at the strength of feeling among our members,” Drake said. “I have not had to work hard for there to be a sense of outrage.”

The union also alleged that British Telecom was apparently bringing skilled technicians from India to work in Britain and paying them less than what a local worker would earn.

Another train jumps rails

Hyderabad (PTI): In the second such accident in as many days, the engine and a bogie of a train derailed near Veldurti in Andhra Pradesh on Monday.

However, no one was injured after a coach of the Kachiguda-Puttaparthi Satya Sai Prashanti Nilayam Express and two wheels of its engine jumped rails 30 minutes past midnight in the Dronachalam-Kurnool section of the South-Central Railway.

On Sunday, one passenger had been killed and 25 injured when 14 coaches of the Patna-New Delhi Magadh Vikrashila Express derailed near Buxar in Bihar.

Riot victims in suicide threat

Amritsar (PTI): Five women, whose family members were killed in the anti-Sikh riots that rocked Delhi in 1984, have threatened self-immolation in front of the residence of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh on Tuesday.

Their names were declared on Monday near the Golden Temple by a group of about 300 riot victims from Ludhiana, who alleged that even after 20 years, none of their demands have been met.

CNG pipeline fire

New Delhi (PTI): A mishap was averted when a fire in a compressed natural gas (CNG) pipeline was doused in the Khan Market area on Monday. The fire, which broke out around 11.40 am in a cloth shop, spread to a CNG pipeline next to it. Nobody was injured in the blaze which gutted the shop.

Medha protest

Nashik (PTI): As the indefinite fast by Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar demanding rehabilitation of people affected by the Sardar Sarovar project before the monsoon entered the fourth day, NBA activists met former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh who promised to discuss the issue with his successor Sushil Kumar Shinde.

Station blast

Hyderabad (PTI): Naxalites of the People’s War Group set off a blast at a small railway station in Anantpur district on Sunday. However, no one was injured, police said. A group of armed extremists went to Chegicherla railway station and ordered everybody to move out. Then they planted detonators in two rooms, police said. They left a letter with the assistant station master, saying their act was in protest against last month’s encounter in Rayachoti in which three Naxalites were killed.

Negligence charge

Guntur (PTI): The Andhra Pradesh government will pay an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh to the relatives of a woman who died after a tubectomy operation at the government urban health centre in the Sagadigunta area on Friday. Police have registered a case of negligence against the doctor under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code.


Kashmiri Pundits performed yagnas across the country and abroad on Monday for the welfare of people and peace in the Valley. Nearly 40,000 people gathered at Jammu’s Bub Gopi Nath Ashram, the site of the main yagna.

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