The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Syces hold key to Derby

Calcutta: The Derby Day races, on February 28, have come under a cloud of uncertainty. A section of RCTC’s syces believes that Lt Gen. (retd) J. R. Mukherjee’s resignation from the post of RCTC’s CEO may do more harm to their cause than any good. The General has resigned because of a club member’s ugly remark. He had given the RCTC Karmachari Union (RKU), the officially recognised syces’ union, a written assurance that two of their important demands, pertaining to employees’ provident fund (EPF) and the reconstruction of syces’ basic pay, will be attended to before February 28.

“General’s resignation has cast shadow on the issue in view of time running out fast. Nothing conclusively was achieved at the Wednesday’s meeting with the RCTC’s chairman, Cyrus Madan;” said a syce. “No General, no Derby was the slogan renting the air after the meeting;” he added. Incidentally, K. K. Srivastava, working president, RKU, strongly feels that General Mukerjee has been made a sacrificial goat. “General’s exit has been stage-managed because RCTC wants to drag on the issue;” he said when contacted in Pune over his phone. Jagmohan Masandrai, general secretary RKU did not counter Srivastava’s observations but added: “I am against strikes. All disputes can be settled amicably if the concerned parties are willing.” He also hinted that syces are the ones who may decide about the fate of the Derby.

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