The period spent by BGR at the Head Office (1977-1980) was a very comfortable part of his banking service. He had the happiness of staying in his own house in Jayanagar with his family. He could leave his home daily at 9.30 am and reach the office on scooter to be at his seat well before the official time of 10 am. Again, he could leave the office exactly at 5 pm (there was no practice of sitting late at HO unlike in the branches) and reach home at 5.30 pm. The present day traffic jams were just unimaginable in the Garden City of those days. So much so BGR remembers reaching home on his scooter without applying the break anywhere during the entire journey! In fact his dog Johnny was announcing his arrival to his wife the moment he entered the road leading to his house by sensing the sound of the vehicle! Yes! Those were the days! Travelling on Bangalore roads was a pleasure then. Not any more though!
BGR by nature was a restless person who always looked for some challenges in discharging his duties. But unfortunately there were hardly any challenging assignments or roles in his duty at HO. However, the opportunities opened up at the fag end of his posting at HO. BGR had observed that there was no seriousness at the branch level in the matter of handling Government work including collection of taxes and payment of pension. The inspection department also had not given sufficient instructions to the Inspecting officers to cover these aspects during their annual inspection. Repeated letters from the General Manager to the Inspection Department had yielded no results. BGR discussed the matter with the AGM BVB. The GA Section was not having any feedback on the working of the branches as far as pension and taxes matter was concerned.
The AGM decided that BGR should visit all the district headquarters branches in Karnataka as well as Panaji and Madgaon personally. He was to go through all the records and study as to how the branches were implementing the instructions from HO from time to time. He was supposed to inspect one branch per day. In the morning he was to study the working and ask the manager to hold a staff meeting in the afternoon to point out the deficiencies and offer guidance. He had to chalk out a plan and submit a detailed report to the AGM branch-wise.
BGR undertook the special assignment with all sincerity. He visited the branches from Bidar to Karwar during January-February 1980 and submitted a detailed report to the AGM. The report highlighted the following aspects:
1. Non-remittance of tax collections promptly and keeping the amount pending in Sundry Liabilities Account
2. Incorrect preparations of scrolls
3. Not keeping the Pension Payment Orders in an orderly manner under lock and key
4. Non-claiming of turnover commission periodically – resulting in income loss to the bank
The AGM was happy with the work done by BGR. He asked BGR to follow up the matter with the branches till the observations were set right.
At this stage, the AGM felt the necessity of having a manual of instructions for the Government Accounts separately. He asked BGR to take up the work and set a timeframe of two months. He was aware that BGR may be transferred by May 1980 as Manager. It was again an opportunity for BGR to undertake some original work. He started thinking and broadly divided the subjects and commenced drafting them one after another. For nearly two months BGR focused on the work and devoted his entire time for the special job.
The quality of drafting of BGR was highly appreciated by the AGM. With his vast experience he suggested certain changes in the draft without making any major alterations. So the first Manual of Government Accounts in Canara Bank came out with full credit to BGR – the official author – under the leadership of the Gandhian BVB!
BGR’s capabilities were fully recognised by BVB. When the self-appraisal system was first introduced in our bank, BGR had given himself 87 marks out of 100. But BVB was not satisfied. He told him that he had underrated himself and he definitely deserved more. He awarded him 91/100! When BGR received transfer orders to Tamarind Lane Mumbai branch, BVB personally spoke to K R Acharya, the DM in Mumbai, for allotting suitable quarters to BGR. K R Acharya was the brother-in-law of BVB and was in-charge of Premises matters. BVB also took permission to allow BGR to travel by air to Mumbai with his family (the permitted mode was I class train at that time).
BGR was relieved from HO on 31st May 1980. He undertook the journey by air for the first time with his family. His young sons Adarsh and Anil fully enjoyed their first flight. BGR was to stay at his brother-in-law’s flat in Mulund till he took possession of the allotted bank quarters. He had been told that a flat had already been allotted to him by K R Acharya, the DM.
BGR’s family was received at the Santacruz Airport by his brother-in-law who took them to his flat in Mulund. BGR was to visit the Circle Office near the VT Station on the next day. He was in great spirits to set up his establishment in the Commercial Capital of India – the City of Bombay - of those days. But a nasty surprise awaited him at the Circle Office!
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
25th August 2012