35, Issue # 94 - December 5, 2002
The numbers of calls we have been getting from all over India have increased considerably during last weeks. We are getting long distance calls from friends enquiring whether they should make arrangements to travel to Bhubaneswar or not? We have replied to all such queries as please go ahead and do make necessary arrangements since it is much easier to cancel than make arrangements at the last minute. This however does not satisfy the inquirer and they insist on knowing whether the exhibition will take place or not.
We firmly believe that India must have several nationals every year. We have been writing to India Post that they must schedule a national every year that way it will be provided for in the annual budget as well as in annual plan of activities.
We have propagated the same much before B K Sinha or even his mentor S Sahoo appeared on Indian philatelic scene. We were involved with INPEX 02 from its concept stage and were concerned the way the exhibition was being conducted and insisted on transparency in proceedings.
In issue # 70 of June 20, 2002 we published an excerpt from a letter by the Chief of the Philatelic Division of India Post to Shakil Ahmed informing that "We have also decided not to support this (INPEX 2002) exhibition purported to be a National level exhibition organized by any philatelic society"
We also carried Sinha's message in the Readers Forum of the same issue, where he writes, "He (Shakil Ahmed) writes about scrapping the INPEX 2002. You have not dealt with that section of complaint. To be honest - I too feel that the exhibition should be scrapped. It is too much of a hassle."
In the next issue, # 71 of June 27, 2002 we carried 'INPEX-2002 - An important Announcement' from India Post's web site:
"It has come to the notice of this Department that the organizers of INPEX-2002, an exhibition being held at Bhubaneswar in December 2002 have claimed that the exhibition has the patronage of the Department of Posts. It is hereby clarified that the Department of Posts is not connected in any way with INPEX - 2002".
Within next one month the self-appointed PCI Coordinator of INPEX 02, S Sahoo and Sinha, the Organizing Secretary of INPEX 02, changed sides and blocked our access to all further news from INPEX 02 Secretariat.
In issue # 78 of August 15, 2002 we reported, "We would have liked to report the exact dates on which the committee met at Bhubaneswar and the names of the members who attended the meetings to finalize the allotment. However, this was not available, the allotment may have been done in the last week of July as some out station members of the Allotment Committee were present in Bhubaneswar during that time. We tried our best to get the detailed information but have been denied access."
Here we quote from the Newsletter # 1 of INPEX 02, August 2002 that is a pack of lies finishing with a threat:
There has been some unfortunate bad publicity for INPEX 2002, which has been due to the barrage of foul-mouthed letters written by Mr. Shakil Ahmed to the DoP, and the Chief Minister of Orissa, which were published by Mr. Madhukar Jhingan in his Newsletter - all with the sole aim of creating confusion amongst intending participants. The fallout was that the DoP published a news item on their website that they do not support the exhibition. This was interpreted by Mr. Shakil Ahmed, Mr. Madhukar Jhingan and a few others, that the DoP does not 'recognise' INPEX 2002.
We must be very clear that the DoP does not 'recognise' though we request them to provide 'support' by way of frames, its repair and transportation, a couple of advertisements and manpower to erect the frames. They in turn gain revenue to the extent of a few lakhs through the sale of stamps as well as fulfilling their obligation to promote philately. The 'recognition' is provided by the PCI so that the certificates enable the exhibits to participate in other 'recognised' exhibitions.
Judging by the response, it is clear that a majority would want the Nationals to be an annual event, to promote and qualify new entries into the international exhibitions. India being such a large country, provides only a handful exhibits to any international event. We hope that societies would come forward and host the Nationals every year.
The DoP agreed to provide the required frames provided that we pay for their transportation and cost of repairs. We expected support, which we interpret as free supply of frames in useable condition. We are still requesting DoP to consider our request.
Some unsavoury developments over the last few months have prompted us to revise the Organising Committee list of members which will be notified in the Newsletter No. 2 to be published next month."
In response we wrote in issue # 78 of August 15, 2002:
"We were surprised to find in the Newsletter # 1 of INPEX 2002 certain allegations against us. We have reported only the facts and have consciously refrained from any interpretation, commentary, or opinion while reporting on INPEX 2002 till date.
The Department of Posts is an independent entity that makes its own decisions. The 'support' and 'recognition' dilemma comes from the insecurities and incapability of INPEX 2002 Secretariat.
We wish the PCI and all societies/clubs that support them to come forward and hold recognized national level exhibitions every year so that more collectors would have an opportunity to participate in exhibitions at the international level. It would also give an opportunity to PCI to fulfill their obligation of promoting philately.
We would also like to request that INPEX 2002 website may be updated and incorrect claims and information corrected. It still lists score of postal officers, some with their earlier designations, on its committees."
This was all a pack a lies. Shakil Ahmed in a meeting at Bhubaneswar asked how his letters were termed foul mouthed and was replied by Sahoo that any letter that complains about him to higher authorities automatically qualifies to become foul mouthed.
We carried a report in Part 25 of 'Philately in Transition in India' in issue # 84 of September 26, 2002 and the same is available at the following link
We now quote from Newsletter # 2 of INPEX 02, October 1, 2002:
"Due to the bad publicity and rumors floated by people with vested interests, the exhibition costs are going up. Shakil Ahmed petitioned the Governor of Orissa, on the 14th August 2002, to cancel the arrangement of space at the OUAT Convention Centre. The Governor has now issued instructions that the space may be rented out at the highest possible rates. We now have a person who is going all out to stop the exhibition - hence we were prudent enough to file a caveat to pre-empt any unilateral decision to stall the exhibition at the last minute."
It exposes the fact that the Chancellor of Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology (OUAT) was not informed till August 2002 by none other than Sahoo, who happens to be the Vice Chancellor, about the use of University Convention Centre for the exhibition whereas the information was shared with everyone else in the beginning of the year.
The official web site of INPEX 02 as on December 5, 2002, visited 300 times by a handful of persons in 7 months disseminates the following information:
1. Bhubaneswar has been selected to host the National Philatelic Exhibition that will be conducted over five days with the active participation of all the other local philatelic societies/clubs, the patronage of the Philatelic Congress of India, Ministry of Tourism, Government of Orissa and the Department of Posts, Government of India.
2. The Department of Posts will commemorate the event with the release of four special postage stamps and a miniature sheet.
INPEX 02 website has unceremoniously dumped the Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Bijoyshree Routray, Minster of Tourism, Government of Orissa, and all, but two, postal officials who were its Patron, Honorary Chairman, Honorary Co-Chairmen, and Vice Chairperson, along with yours truly. Also removed from other committees are Jadunath Kanungo and Shakil Ahmed. However the INPEX 02 Secretariat still uses their publications such as prospectus for all purposes without any corrections whatsoever. When G Madan Mohan Das from Chennai was added to the Organizing Committee and the dates were extended on April 28, 2002 an addenda slip was promptly issued.
The Governing Council of PCI used to appoint the jury for the nationals patronized by it so far. However this formality is also dispensed with and jury were appointed on October 28, 2002 thereby proving that the set of persons who have been controlling PCI from very inception have scant regard for rules, regulations, resolutions or democratic norms.
We conclude with a message from Dipok Dey: How they are using this title (INPEX)? Over the years this title has earned some goodwill nationally and internationally. If India Post is not organizing it, it is really surprising that India Post did not object to it. Can any private organizer use the Government's event Title? Will it not be treated as misappropriation or misuse of Government's Goodwill? In future other organizers can safely use the titles used by the Government citing this as an example.
Anyone planning to be a part of the exhibition or visit the exhibition can make their own decisions based on the above information.