M. Dinesh Varma

CHENNAI: Farewell parties are the order of the day at BSNL Chennai Telephones which is witnessing an unprecedented spate of retirements across cadres since the beginning of the year.

While the impact of over 200 staffers having retired from the organisation in the past six months may not be felt in technology-driven functions of BSNL, other key areas such as accounts and administration are likely to feel the pinch, sources said.

An estimated 70 per cent of the retirees are in the Group C clerical cadres, 20 per cent are Grade D sub staff and about 10 per cent Group B officers.

Retirements peaked in June when as many as 68 personnel from various cadres completed service. A farewell function slated for August will see 28 more leaving the organisation.

Though the mismatch between recruitments and retirements is likely to persist into the future, officials were of the view that the work flow at the State-run organisation would not be affected much.

“Most staffers who retired are from the manual era, so their absence may not be as acute as the large proportion of retirements suggest,” an officer said.

In fact, an entire exchange these days can be manned by a single staff with a computer, it is pointed out.

At the same time, the official did not discount the possibility of administrative sectors such as accounts facing extra workload.

The level of automation is more or less complete in the technical sector while administration wings are still heavily manpower-driven.

“There is an acute dearth of officer-level cadres in accounts,” a top Chennai Telephones official conceded.

Sources also point out that in some instances, the exit of an officer in a key post has not been dealt with by an immediate replacement.

A case in point is the Remote Switching Unit at the Secretariat where a replacement is yet to be made after an SDE retired in March. This is despite the fact that this RSU is a sensitive hub catering to institutions such as the High Court, Reserve Bank of India, Chennai Port Trust and Coast Guard, sources said.