Friday, August 20, 2010


I am not giving here the dictionary meaning of this word. But it brings vast information before the mind of any staff of telecom department in India before the boom of cellular telephones.

About a decade ago, “non feasible” was a mantra in the mouths of the telecom people. This meant that the equipment in the Exchange is full or the connecting link to your address is full or non-existent and cannot be bridged in the near future. It is easier to understand that the Exchange portion; but not the connecting link. People who used to see telephone working next door would not take the answer kindly. Land lines were the order of the day. And the connection between the telephone exchange and the subscribers’ premises was by means of physical conductors comprising of underground cable pair and overhead bare wires carried on telephone posts. The underground cables were supposed to be laid as per requirements, forecast by survey & planning. Survey & planning were not faulty, but there used to be always deficiency mainly due to finances and supply of materials. The under ground cable network was supposed to be designed in 3 tiers: primary, secondary and tertiary components. Each was to take the requirements for periods of 5, 10 and 20 years ahead. This planning period takes into account the laying frequently in primary routes and secondary routes are necessary as the forecast may vary and frequent laying are investment wise economical. Whereas in the tertiary area uncertainties are more and demand and fill of the cable change frequently. Consequently longer planning period/over provision for more flexibility is apt.

Assuming that a spare cable pair is available in one of the Distribution Points in the cable net-work it is practically possible to use it any where by progressive rearrangement. This will be a compromise with the planning rules, which are based on economics and engineering. One of the senior officers used to harp on this practical aspect if a work, which came to his notice, were to be held up, but would also object to overspending. Soldier’s decision is non-feasible; officer’s decision may be to-rearrange. Non-feasibility would get a beating.

I had a relative of mine who used to tell me every time I met him about his capacity to get his telephone shifted using his influence into a non-feasible area, which was to become feasible after 3 years thence, as per the plans. This was an attempt to flaunt his influence with powers-that-be and also to highlight the bane in the working of telecom department.

Similarly I had another experience with flexibility. In my locality some body approached me as a retired telecom officer to get his telephone repaired by using my acquaintance with working men. As a courtesy I spoke to somebody to help him. His telephone got repaired and he came to me to thank me. I told him that visit was unnecessary and telephone call would have been enough. Some time later I found out that my telephone was dead. I was told that they repaired the “recommended” telephone by using a cable pair of a working connection because of recommendation without knowing that it related to my telephone itself. Of course, it was not wise to go back on the arrangement and my telephone was also rectified by attending to cable repair expeditiously.

1 comment:

Harit said...

Wow, did not know so much planning was involved (the 3-tier thing). Of course, the political situation of the higher-up officers is to be expected (unfortunately).

The last story is amusing and ironic. It is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Just happened that Peter and Paul were good friends in this case. :-)