Dismantling Media Mafia – Part 5

Illustration of the new PTI Building in Kolkata.

How About Giving A Floor To Families of PTI People in Kolkata

Where the management of news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) is chary about spending an extra paisa for its employees, money actually rained down when its Directors met at its new building in Kolkata recently.

Look. While the Directors gathered in the West Bengal capital from across the country, PTI CEO M.K.Razdan took the air route to Kolkata for the February 26-27 meeting; and also flying with him were his personal staff from New Delhi that included his personal secretary, clerk and security manager, besides some other favorites, as if he was some VVIP. Have you seen even a cabinet minister fly like this?

It is learnt that Razdan, 65, had arranged this hyped meeting in Kolkata to impress upon the Directors that the new building at the Salt Lake township was his ‘yet another achievement’, so that he could get further extension to the post of chief executive officer. Otherwise, by now he should have retired, having reached superannuation upon completing 60 years in 2005 only. Will anyone correct me, if I am wrong with his age!

For Razdan’s two-day visit to the township, an expensive sofa was bought as also a plasma television set and a DVD player. Besides, an expensive car was hired for him and one each for the Directors.

The total cost of the meeting is believed to be between Rs. 8 to 10 lakhs. This is shocking keeping in view the fact that the company is unwilling to meet even the legitimate demands of its employees.

How can its CEO go on to spend lakhs literally on himself for a two-day visit?

Interestingly, even the Kolkata staffers were taken in for a surprise when Razdan went on to ‘inaugurate’ the new building upon his arrival. So secret a plan this was!

And yes, all the PTI manager-journalists from India’s eastern states were ordered to be present in Kolkata to meet-and-greet Razdan during this trip. However, they were left poorer after the jaunt, as while Razdan and his Directors stayed in super luxury hotels, arrangements for these manager-journalists were done in luxury hotels where, upon checking out, they were told to foot their own food bills. Lo!

Well, may we also talk about the new PTI Building in Kolkata? The eight-storey building has come up in the Salt Lake Sector V, which is the IT sector and a very sought after location.

But PTI could not find any local builder for the structure for which a New Delhi-based mind was reported to have been hired. Why?

Further, every minute thing right from the construction to decoration was entirely controlled from New Delhi. May be this was the reason for completion of the building way behind schedule.

Greater Voice sources say that though PTI initially got some tenants for the new building, today there are none.

Can you thus believe that the entire building having a built-up area of about one lakh square feet has no tenant, at all? Tenants had come, but the time overrun drove them away, the insiders say.

Then PTI must be paying another few lakhs against taxes and bills for the unoccupied floors too. Wish the Kolkata staffers are at least accommodated to manage the costs.

Let me quickly take you through the journey of the PTI Building in Kolkata as reported in the House Journals of the news agency from time to time:

From the PTI House Journal - June 2005
The promise made in the PTI House Journal - November 2006.
Another update in PTI House Journal - June 2007.

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