ONGC CMD’s statement of dancing in the morgue, 27000 employees infuriated
The chaos has engulfed state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) taking a grim toll on the company’s functioning eversince the newly appointed Chairman Arun Kumar Singh gave a preposterous call to the mid-level officer to leave the way for the youngsters and not to ask for any benefits from the company in a web-based open forum on May 2.
That’s not enough. Mr. Singh, who is known for using extremely oblique statements to bully officers, allegedly drew a rare parallel between the legitimate demands of the employees and the dancing in the crematorium.
“When you go to the crematorium, do you dance?” he asked adding do we dance in the operation theatre? ,“ This is called, in English, a Grotesque act,.”
The words from the senior most officer’s mouth put testimony to the fact that either ONGC has already gone to the mortuary or he fails to rein-in his caustic tongue.
The interaction, first by the Chairman, was participated by over 26000 employess across all locations of ONGC with a keen interest to get a clear roadmap from the top office, which did not have a regular Chairman for over 20 months.
But the hype was soaked into an unfathomable frustration as the Chairman started forecasting irreparable dooms for the 68-year-old India’s first Maharatna Company, which has been at the forefront of the Nation’s drive for energy security for.
The iconoclastic Chairman, who might not have delved into the company’s history of foundation that was laid through a high level of commitment and conviction, flashed his presentations on a core theme that nobody can save ONGC.
And the employees will not get their salary, initially not on time and then not at all, by 2030. He continued with a lot of slurs that even though the company is dying fast, it still lures young people through its recruitment drive.
He was expected to ‘highlight’ issues, but he harped on “Low Lights’ which are all the negative aspects of the company, while lashing out the ‘carpet pushers’ who only highlight the successes.
Fair enough, this is something which is quite expected of a chairman to warn a complacent workforce particularly at a time when the company is faced with a steep decline in production.
But the problem lies with the sarcasm that was used to put the employees to absolute low and their very hardship was booed and commitment was ridiculed. Chairman took very little time to shift the entire onus on the employees at large and shirk off any responsibility on the part of the management.
A senior officer fumes, “ Chairman with a marketing background only knows about targets and hollow presentation to the salesmen. Hence it is not very unexpected to get this kind of directionless philosophy when he himself dwells in the world of confusions and contradictions.”
During his presentation with untamed vocabulary, he slides quite fast even the boundary of gender issue, while pointing at the forced bachelor status of many officers, who work in the remote locations where basic family amenities are either scarce or not available.
When the employees expected empathy from the new chairman, he did just the different by giving a horrid suggestion to tell their wives to leave their jobs in the city and join them in the locations.
How much are your wives earning? Rs 40000 or 50000. That they spend on the transport and fashion. There’s no point in keeping them away from you unless you have some other issues, he said quite sarcastically.
What must have pained most is the fact that the directors who were homegrown and aware of all the real issues, were in complete silence at the severe onslaughts by an ‘outsider chairman’, who is challenged with the upstream knowledge.
In fact, the second most powerful director, Pankaj Kumar, who has recently taken over as the Director production, started gunning the employees from the very fast moment saying, quite ludicrously that the production has been plummeted not because of natural decline but because of you(the employees).
All ONGC fields are faced with the steep decline because of the ageing. Even the largest producing Mumbai High is nearly 50-year-old. The oil production during the current financial year has been plummeted to around 16 million tonnes from 18 million tonnes of 2021-22. and the gas production and sales too have fallen drastically.
Hence, frustration is quite understandable on the part of the Management. But, says a senior official, in a crisis, the best steward is he, who can steer the ship by mobilizing all the crew members by instilling courage and confidence. “demoralizing them actually pave the way for disasters.