Col. Ganesan Satcos-Tamil Web Pages


Ablaze in a Blizzard

Ablaze in a Blizzard - Col.(Retd.) P. Ganesan





The Fish out of Water



The Fish establishes

I was an active member of all Army activities and was enjoying the respect from all ranks and was shocked to receive a posting order to a semi military organisation called Military Engineering Services. It was not only Semi military but the worst part was a construction unit.

Readers might remember that I literally ran away from PWD of Tamil Nadu and luckily selected to the Army. But the destiny appeared to be keen to test me further. The training which I attended at Roorkee University seemed to be the reason for this posting. I stood first in that course and the report had reached Army headquarters and immediately they had issued posting to works side. 4 Engineer Regiment took up the case to cancel the posting but they could not succeed. So on 28th March 1968 I left 4 E R.

I had spent about two years at Changsari, the location of 44 Field Park. During this time number of my Regiment officers had visited Shillong, the hill station of Assam and also called "Paradise of Bachelors". I tried to join my friends once or twice but could not go at all for some reasons. To my great surprise I was now posted as Assistant Garrison Engineer, under chief Engineer Shillong Zone, to be located at Shillong itself.

Shillong is about 85 KM from Guwahati (Rail Head and is an out agency). Assam state capital was shillong before bifurcation of Mehalaya state out of Assam. So I landed at Shillong on 29th March 1968.

The fish was out of water or in deep water!!! .....

I started my work in earnest interest. I was engineer in charge of a major project for HQ Eastern Air Command. Technical and administrative buildings were started coming up in about 100 Crore project out of which about 60 percent works completed. The work site was at Laitkore Peak the highest place in Shillong. It was strange weather at Laitkore peak. Wind used to blow like a cyclone and rain heavily when Shillong was getting bright sun light. Incidentally Chirapunji, the world's heaviest rainfall is located only about 60 km from there. The working condition was definitely very bad. I went through the contract document thoroughly and understood the terms and condition under which the work had to be completed. The contractor was paid 32 lakhs on running bills, totalling 18 times the last one being about 2 days before I was joining.

I called the contractor and requested for joint inspection and assessment of the works. In a running contract it was possible to make overpayment which could be adjusted in subsequent bills. Payments were also permitted for materials collected at site which could have been shifted to other sites. So I was right in calling for joint inspection and assessment. On completion of this inspection, it was found that the value of work executed for 28 lakhs only. In a running contract of a major work making 2-3 lakhs overpayment was not a serious mistake. But when the engineer was new he could not accept the overpayment made during the previous incumbent. So I told the contractor that the next payment would be made only after adjusting the overpayment given to him.

Perhaps the Fish which was trying to get into water!!

The Fish Breaks the Net

I by carrying out stocktaking established the facts of the project just before my taking over and pay-outs. By this I had sent a strong warning that no further payment would be made without overcoming the over payment. I had also briefed my subordinate staff about my interest. Though Shillong was a wonderful place and called "Bachelor's Paradise" I had no interest in moving around except playing games in Assam Regiment at Centre.

We had seen the climate at Laitcore peak. The weather condition due to both wind and rain minimized the working clear days and also man's efficiency went down. So the project was already under extension of time. As the contractor was finding it difficult to produce the good standard of work as demanded by men, he started finding ways and means to put the blame on me. Unlike PWD, the MES had clear working procedure wherein the Engineer in charge of the project was the authority on supervision of the work, and one could over rule only when he was incapable of supervision. If one overruled the engineer in charge, then the entire responsibility would go on to the person who overruled him. Since no one wanted that burden, without giving a solution everyone started blaming me for slow progress.

I gave in writing whether the authorities wanted good work or speedy work, as the contractor was not capable of doing both. This had put everyone in tight corner. When I rejected a material no senior officer was willing to overrule me and approve it.

The fish got into deep water. Slowly all those who supported the contractor slipped away and it was direct challenge between me and the contractor.

The Fish goes into Deep Water

In 1969 when I was having a tough time with the contractor, Emergency period was lifted out of this nation. All those who were granted through Emergency Commission were asked their choice of going back to parent department, or leaving the Army or go for another SSB in case they wanted to continue in the Army.

In fact their choice was asked about end of 1968 as Army HQ had to plan accordingly. I had thought for a while. Even though I wanted to continue in the Army, my mother was not keeping well and my elder brother wanted me back in PWD. Since it would take time for implementing any decision I took the option to continue in Army. Accordingly in 1969 When SSB asked me to appear at Meerut, it reached me very late that I could not respond and react to it. So I asked for fresh dates. Army HQ gave fresh date to appear at SSB Allahabad. One week before I was to leave for SSB there was heavy rain in Assam and many roads and rail bridges were washed away. Assam was totally cut off from rest of India. I did not know whether the nature was against me or in favour of me. How could I reach Allahabad?!!!

Second services selection board

Army took the decision and hence implemented. I was at Shillong and Assam was cut off from rail and road link. I had to reach Allahabad in time in this scenario. One of my well-wisher Civilian officers was in charge of Airport Maintenance at Borjar (Guwahati). He asked me to come immediately to airport as time was short. So I reached airport and was shocked to see the crowd worse than Chennai central. However my friend took me straight to the pilot of the aircraft which was about to take off to Calcutta and explained the situation. The pilot fortunately an ex-Air Force Officer told me to get the ticket first. I got the ticket and along with the pilot got into the aircraft. The pilot seated me in a place where airhostesses were seated and went into the cockpit. The aircraft started and after some time pilot came out and was looking for any vacant seat. There was none. One lady was sitting along with her 5 year old son in another seat. The pilot requested the lady to have the boy in my lap and so I could be seated. The lady gracefully accepted the request. The aircraft landed at Calcutta and the lady who was having great respect to Army dropped me at Howrah Railway station and wished me best of luck.

The Cosmic Force

Scientists and spiritual Leaders are always in conflict about God. In 21st century there would be a definite answer to this.

Dr.Alagar Ramanujam a Ph.D. holder in Physics had great interaction with Vedathri and had de-coded the secrets in more clear terms. But those people who were benefited by keeping the secret alive might not accept Vedathri's theory. Only those practical persons (Rationalists) would have to do more homework.

Readers might understand by following the events which were happening in my past life that there was some external force that was guiding me perfectly. I was very clear that I would act only as per my conscience and happily would accept the outcome whatever it might be. With that resolve I entered the Services Selection Board Allahabad on 10th October 1969. If selected I would continue in the Army otherwise I would revert back to PWD of Tamil Nadu.

There were about 25 officers from different Corps. The tests were exactly the same as that one which I appeared in1963. For me it was too simple as I was keeping myself fit. The tests got over in 3 days but the Assam situation continued to be the same. So I was attached to Garrison Engineer Allahabad. Making use of this lean period I once again went to Kasi Ghat and had a Holy dip in Ganga. After a week or so I started high hiking and with great difficulty reached Shillong. Sometime in Nov 1969 the great news came that I had been selected for permanent commission and had to clear medical board.

Medical board was simple as I was a sports person and after a week or so, I was informed by Army HQ, that my personal number in future would be INDIAN COMMISSION 21773N. I was further informed that I had been entitled for a 3 year degree course at the College of Military Engineering, Pune.

I had a head on collision with contractors was forced to undergo a lifelong regret in early 1970.

Reflections











When the National Emergency had to be lifted, the Govt. wanted Army officers who were granted through emergency commission (EC) were to be regularised either by granting Indian Commission (IC) or leaving the Army. It was unfair that officers who had served for about 5 years, commanded troops in war and peace were asked to prove their officer quality once again. It was a pity that some of them were even war (1965) decorated.


I got into the train and thought about the events happened in the past few hours. I wondered the Cosmic Force behind it which the illiterate call as GOD was great.



Vedathri an ex-ordinary person by his relentless thought process had put forward to this world that the Cosmic Force of the SPACE was the super power which reacted to our conscience and the oldest generation of mankind had named this force as GOD.