|Early Times Report|
Srinagar, Aug 20: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has come to the rescue to Srinagar-based BPO AEGIS, which was about to shut down operations after its main client Vodafone stopped giving it business earlier this month.
Vodafone was the biggest client of AEGIS BPO in Srinagar. After the telecom company stopped directing its calls to the call centre, its more than 80 employees were given the option of either taking a transfer to other AEGIS branches in the country or resigning with a three-month payout.
However, help came just in the nick of the time after the BPO approached the Governor's office. The state administration swung into action and decided to act as a back-end and customer service provider to AEGIS so that the venture doesn't shut down and employees don't go jobless. It has also decided to give a three months salary to the employees.
"We are looking at providing business from private enterprises and from other states and government sectors to this call centre. The focus is to increase the number of its employees from 80 to 2,000 in the next two years," said Shahid Chowdhary, Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, who spearheaded the revival of the BPO which operates from Rangreth Industrial Area.
This is good news for the BPO staff, which has been braving hostile situations in Kashmir to attend office. Most employees say the three-month salary is just a short-term solution, but they are looking forward to delivering quality output without losing their jobs.
"During the 2016 unrest, we didn't stop attending office. We took stones and abuses, but kept the business going. We supported the company in difficult times, we don't want to lose employment now," said Shahid, an AEGIS employee.
"The employment situation in Kashmir is already very bad, if we lose our jobs it will just add to the problem. The Deputy Commissioner had assured us help and work opportunity, we are ready to work and do our best," said another employee, Sameera.
AEGIS' operational cost is Rs 30 lakh per month. It has already given a proposal to the state administration identifying its areas of expertise.
"The government has assured to utilise our services to provide backend services in government and private enterprises, for the DC's grievance cell, in government helplines, for providing IT and software solutions," said Suhail Nisar, Centre Head, AEGIS Srinagar.
And while the staff sees a ray of hope in the government outreach, the dominant feeling is that this should not be just a cosmetic measure and a focussed attention must be given to boost as the confidence of the people and the industry in the state.