The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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24x7 shrugs off bandh

A leading infrastructure development company kicks off its project in the morning, the minister in question flies off to Delhi for an emergency meeting after a hectic day in office, techies stick to the schedule…

It was all in a day’s work for Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s blue-eyed sector during the Trinamul Congress bandh.

All-action Monday started early in the state’s information technology (IT) hub. “DLF kicked off its Rajarhat project today with piling work at the site… It’s a symbolic move, an indication that the industry is truly moving towards the 24x7 principle,” said S.K. Mitra, managing director, Webel.

The evening saw IT minister Manab Mukherjee setting off for Delhi to meet Union IT minister Dayanidhi Maran, after utilising most of Monday in finalising a wish-list from the “friendly” government at the Centre.

In the 10 intervening hours between the two events — DLF’s entry and the minister’s exit — the new-economy industry gave a thumping thumbs down to the third bandh of the year. “We distributed 527 stickers to more than 60 companies,” said Webel’s Mitra.

Numbers were crunched to back the no-disruption claims. Rolling out the attendance figures at various IT firms, G.D. Gautama, principal secretary, IT, said on Monday evening that the high percentage of attendance was a pointer that most people are against “disruptive strikes”.

Though the streets in Sector V were empty and public transport facilities non-existent, most of the offices were abustle. A few, like TCS and IBM, remained shut — having worked through Saturday — but those on “critical missions” were ferried in.

At Wipro, the youngest IT firm in the city, 90 per cent of the employees logged in, while it was a “normal day” at BPO shops like BNK e-Solutions and Vishnu Solutions, claimed the promoters of the company.

Reliance registered 85 per cent attendance, while it was 100 per cent at Accleris, 55 per cent at CTS, 50 per cent at TCG and 70 per cent at Siemens.

“The data clearly shows that people came out of their homes and worked without any fear,” said minister Mukherjee.

Officials at Wipro were “satisfied” with the arrangements. “It is like any other day for us,” said an official.

But there was no muzzling the murmurs of concerns. “We need a political consensus on banning bandhs. We did operate normally, but only after incurring extra costs and at some risk,” felt an IT-preneur.

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