North-east call centres a big rip off

And the list of such ‘employers’ is gradually increasingly, stretching between a much-hyped call centre set up by the North Eastern Development Finance Corporation (NEDFi), and the medical transcription centre of Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL) which left people without paying their salaries and basic facilities such as food and pick up.

NEDFi’s case is, however, that of failed expectations with the Dalmiya Group pulling out of its IT Park in Guwahati. Though the State goverment is not willing to discuss matters, there are indications which link the pullout, that cost more than 400 employees their jobs, to the government withdrawing benefits in other sectors where the the Dalmias were supposed to invest.Located in the Ulubari area of the city, NEDFi’s IT Park is state-of the-art, with all the trappings of a modern info-tech facility, including a VSNL gateway and 24-hour power back-up. Despite this, NEDFi has so far not managed to revive the call centre at the park, or get a replacement for the Dalmias. The PRO at NEDFi, however, refused to comment on the issue. “It’s a sensitive issue,” said a senior executive at NEDFi, speaking on conditions of anonymity.

That apart, there are other organisations such as Accrescent, despite their claims of foreign funds, which left hundreds of employees in the lurch. The organisation kept appointed employees waiting for more than a year, before informing them about the project being indefinitely postponed. The organisation, however, refused to take any responsibility by making the recruiting agency the scapegoat. Appointment letters had been issued by Azure Communications, a recruiting agency on the behalf of Accrescent. ”The tie-up with Azure has turned out to be big loss. However, we will start the project very soon,” says Satyendranath Sharma, Director of Accrescent. Azure for its part charged a “non-refundable processing fee” of Rs 100 from each cadidate. Representatives of Azure refused to comment on the issue. Given a place like Guwahati thousands would have applied. According to reports, which Azure denies, irate candidates who were being “fobbed off” for almost a year after their ‘date of joining’ even roughed up people at the agency.

By Debashree Dey Adhikari (