Memoranda for Submission to the Chief Ministers of the Two Telugu States.


Dr M.B Athreya and the Telecoms



Dr M.B Athreya and the Telecoms

Dr T.H.Chowdary*


Those were the decades  of acute telephone famine since the mid 1940s  to the 1990s which situation I characterized as,

Appl apply,  no reply”.

The reason was Nehruvian socialism which mandated that the government  departments  like P&T and the government’s Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs)  should occupy the commanding ( and facilitating) heights of the economy (and society) . Telephone other than for governments’  ( Union, States , PSUs) were for the benefit of capitalists, businessmen and the  rich,  held Nehruvian socialism. As the waiting list and  waiting periods  went on increasing , the monopoly supplier the P&T department  ( later  DOT, BSNL since 2000) went on pricing application forms , then demanding their validation by  increasing amounts of deposits , and increasing rates  and introducing lightning  trunk calls at eight times    normal rates and  tatkal applications  with a deposit of Rs. 40,000  ie, is methods to  remove the garibs and not garibi.  I have been waging a public campaign  since the late  1960s  memorializing political parties, interacting with MPs and giving public lectures .   The theme was “ end monopoly,  corporatize P&T/DOTs telecom services; let in  private sector companies to compete  with P&T/DOT ;  and have regulation” .


2. The government was compelled   to seek ways of ending the telephone famine.  Its setup “ the Athreya Committee on Telecom Restructuring”  in 1991.  It was then  that I came to know of the  personality of Dr Mrityunjay Athreya as a management expert.  


3. I presented the case  to the  Athreya Committee  for ending government monopoly on supply of  telecom and  emerging  IT services .  He thoroughly and quickly appreciated my submission.  His questions revealed   his total understanding of the   causes  for  telephone famine and what should be done   to end that famine.  Dr Athreya had to interact with among others  the late Com. O. P Gupta , a  seasoned,  intelligent  and formidable Communist Secretary General of the powerful National Federation of  Telecom Employees Unions (NFTEU) which was  ideologically and militantly  opposed  to corporatization & demonopolization. Dr Athreya  handled him deftly. Com. O P Gupta, a friend of mine  for many years (  I was an ex-communist  and Minister Bahuguna used to address me as Com.  Chowdary) told me that he was impressed by the professional conduct of Dr Athreya -  respectful  of contrary opinions , courteous  to accusers even  and   the searching questions Dr Athreya put to  the union men  to bring out the unreasonableness of the unions  opposition to  restructuring  and regime change  for telecoms.


4. Dr Athreya Committee’s Report   on Restructuring Telecoms  and the government’s thinking on that Report  paved the way for Prime Minister  P.V Narasimha Rao government’s  National Telecom Policy  in 1994 (NTP-94) which was further  improved by   Prime Minister  Sri Atal Behari Vajpay’s NTP-‘99 .


5. I became familiar with Dr M B Athreya’s   erudition  through his articles dealing with  aspects of Sanatan Dharma in monthly journal, Tatvaloka . His short but clearly expressive articles  are educative and informative. They are  great value  and so  I gave a few gift subscriptions to  my friends and relatives.


6. Dr Mrityunjay Athreya is one of the  illustrious sons of Bharat .  May he live a 100  years with a  healthy body  and a great mind in the company  of the members of his family and  may he continue to give the benefit of his  knowledge of  sanatana dharma  in which he lives to the thousands of  readers of tatvaloka and his  innumerable friends and well-wishers.  (697 words)