November 2009


India Posts Goof Up — Money Orders No Longer to serve what we write under ‘Space for Communications’
 
My recent visit to Guindy Industrial Estate Post Office to do some money transfers through Money Order seemed to be a nightmare. The teller told me that the money order forms are not going to be sent to the other post office anymore. They would key in the address through the Internet-connected PC and the post office in the beneficiary party’s area would pull out the address and make the requirement payments. Though this has been brought in with a good intent of speedier services, the following issues have been grossly overlooked by the department of posts.
 
  1. The Internet Money Order as they claim would not carry ‘Space for Communications’. If needed, we can request for a separate (and that not in synchronized fashion) postal card towards this purpose. So for magazines when we send subscriptions for money order, things are going to be really confusions galore for them.
  2. Sometime back they brought in versions of money order like ‘Express Money Order’ etc with varying tariff slabs on each. Select post offices denied accepting the normal money orders in preference to these. I believe this is the height of the money order goof up that the department is venturing into.

The money orders have been used by a large section of the country and typically from villages. The space for communication has been serving a real definitive means for the purpose of money order. I believe some one in the department would look into this issue as quicky as possible and bring some remedy to this issue.

Private security agencies in Chennai, India — Do they make us feel truly secure?

There are a lot of security agencies that currently multinational companies, banks and business establishments hire to protect their assets from untoward happenings. The reputed name amongst them is SDB Cisco who also have their website at http://www.sdbcisco.com/

Background of this post:  I am not associated with SDB Cisco in anyway. This review is based on my witnessing a few incidents with reference to SDB Cisco personnel that I would like to share with other readers.

Of late, I have three observations spanning about an year and a half with reference to SDB security personnel, which I just thought would share with other interested readers for their benefits too:

  1.  The people-friendliness of the security personnel has been steeply coming down these days. I had a visit to Cognizant office located near Anna Flyover sometime back. Whilst I was waiting for my friend to come and meet me outside, I saw one fresher asking to meet the HR. The security just pulled the copy of resume and told him that he would submit it.  A few minutes later, he just trashed it to the recycle bin. At least on a good samaritan gesture, he should have advised him to email the HR or pertinent personnel so that a few bucks could have been saved for that poor job seeker.
  2. A few months back I had another instance of SDB security personnel near a business establishment in T Nagar.  A friend of mine is working over there. He used to say that the security personnel talk very freely and time to time they would openly ask you for ten rupees and twenty rupees for tea and other things.
  3. I had personally witnessed a SDB security personnel in Standard Chartered Adyar (Lattice Bridge Road) ATM chit-chatting with his friend, unmindful of his moral responsibility of managing the crowd to form a streamlined queue. He was also helping one of his associate to preempt and enter the ATM violating the queue. I did complain to SCB  and the branch manager took up the issue for investigation about a few months back.
  4. In another technology park in Chennai the SDB security personnel who was operating the elevator rudely asked ‘What salary?’ to a guy who was coming with his resume for an interview. I don’t know what is the reason for the security to ask about salary to the visitor?

Almost all of the incidents narrated above relate to the security personnel with SDB Cisco in their uniform and badges. I did report them to corporate@sdbcisco.co.in from time to time but never they seem to be focussing on quality of their staff.

I think organizations intending to outsource their security requirements to bigger names should be wary of the type of quality service offered by them and not just lured by their brand name and identity. We would need to put our own due diligence effort into ensuring quality output from the service provider.

The sorry state of Indian Police force and the dire need for the state to bring a reformation in them real quick
Recently we have been discussing about the callous attitude of the cops and over here. I was just wondering if the state and central administration are ever bothered to bring some improvement in the general functioning of the police system in India. At least in my personal view, I have seen the best commissioner in Chennai was Ms. Lathika Charan and then the subsequent guy (Vijaykumar), who was also part of the Veerappan mission. All others who have succeeded to capture the chair does not seem to be contributing their full heart and soul in ensuring a tangible peace and harmony of the state. Though this post has been captioned ‘Indian Police’, the most of the discussions are epicentered around Chennai Police from where I have quoted a good number of examples. Of course based on the various news sources we also get to know that similar maladies are afflicting other states as well.
 
If it is a private organization anywhere in the world when there is a non-performing asset, they immediately quarantine him besides subjecting him to innumerable amount of extra tests and stresses; of course with a good intent of making him to realise his folly and to ensure that he contributes to the organization which gives him his paycheck. However, this one yardstick of measuring the performance and/or the whip to eliminate menace of rotten apples in the basket seems to be seriously missing in state-owned organizations, which is giving them an undue protection to an enhanced elevated heights even to the extent of harassing innocent people. Some of the quick jottings that I could think about the maladies from the cops are:
 
  1. A tendency to shriek their moral responsibility like refusing to register FIR for complaints tendered to them.
  2. An excessive amount of inertia to look into people’s concerns.
  3. An anti-people sentiment in that only when their pockets are filled and palms are greased, the services are being rendered. Take for example any services related to passport. Though they have something called police verification, unless you part with a few bucks to the local cops, the verification file would not move from their desk.
  4. And still our female fraternity can not confidently walk into any police station to redress their issues.
  5. As films like ‘Pokkiri’ demonstrate, an unwarranted support and/or protection rendered by a few rotten apples in the department to the accused spoils the entire fine fabric of them.
The need of the hour is that the state should bring a radical renaissance in the police system eliminating all rotten apples in all cadres in toto without any mercy of whatever creed or kind and without any bias or sans any preconcieved notions or prejudices. I am sure that this is a greatest task that our state administration can take for the welfare of the society. And similar to private organizations where they usually do the exercises like ‘downsizing’ and ‘restructuring’ to ensure that the bloated fat stuck in many parts of the body of the organization are operated upon and removed, this would help a great way for the national exchequer in constructive diversion of the people’s tax in nation’s welfare.
 
Would our UPA government think a little constructive and people-friendly terms to eliminate the maladies afflicting the police system?
Citibank strikes back on another illegitimate telemarketing spree
 
Citibank India is notorious for the following underworld things
  1. Illegal telemarketing. They simply do not care about scrubbing their telephone number database against NDNC catalog. We also shared another interesting incident with Citibank Telemarketer over here. Today before sharing out this thought, when I did a quick Internet Search on telemarketing, I got this link, which goes to any extent proving that Citigroup worldwide has this bad telemarketing policy. The said discussion in FlyerTalk discussion forums applies to Citigroup in USA.
  2.  Plethora of hidden charges of diversified categories
  3. Indisciplined collection agents

Well! Let us get back to the most recent comedy show staged by Citibank today morning. I had an interesting call from +914443504807 today around 1102 hours claiming that by virtue of having a salary account with Citibank they are offering free Titanium Credit Cards. When I challenged the telemarketer regarding her right to call a number covered by NDNC, she totally did not have any clue on the same. The caller failed to introduce herself politely but barged into offering an unsolicited Titanium credit card. By issuing an unsolicited Titanium credit cards, is Citibank driving India to become like another Titanic ship?

There was a very similar incident that happened three months back. When I reported the same to Citibank team besides their Head Service and India Grievance, they were taking about four weeks time and assured of no-future-calls henceforth.  I doubt whether Citibank system administrator formats the database systems and creates new desktops every three months? In my previous conversation about exactly three months back I could assertively tell the Citibank team itself that I can expect another NDNC violation by Citigroup and they have proved it exactly.
 
In the latest report, I have written to the following people on the entire history of telemarketing violations. Let me update on the responsible replies or fabricated stories that they come out with.
  1. indiaservice@citicorp.com
  2. indiaservice@citi.com
  3. head.customercare@citi.com,
  4. grievanceredressalofficer@citi.com
  5. c.l.wasan@citi.com
Let us hope to see if at least one mailbox owner is awake to look into what is going wrong with Citibank India.  I have also suggested them a reading of  the document on required telemarketing practices in India (http://ndncregistry.gov.in/ndncregistry/docs/Guidelines_for_telemarketing.doc). This document is written in plain simple English and I have a little hope that they can understand it. If not, we should help them with the address of VETA.
The TN Cops SMS does not seem to be yet timely and effective…
 
Sometime back the cops in Chennai launched a SMS initiative that you can send in a text message to 95000 99100 and within fifteen minutes a callback from the control room or a patrol team would reach the vicinity of the victim seems to far from reality.  I have an instance of a friend needing to use this when he was traumatised in an emergency situation on October 29, 2009.  There weren’t any response from the cops for more than an hour.  With support from his neighborhood and I had to personally drive to his place at an odd hour of 2 AM to provide some support for him.
 
Only around 2 AM there was one missed call attempt by a local cop but it was too late for anyone to notice in that hour. The next day morning again there was one missed call from the number +914423452381 (around 07:28 on 30th October 2009) which traces out to be from Chennai Commissioner Office. If it is going to take more than six hours for them to act on emergency situations, where are we heading towards planning in an emergency situations? We have a long way to go. The state-central administration have to wake up from its deep slumber to kick the lazy guys in the Police department to maintain more vigil. At least as of now, they are just calling to close off the ‘ticket-requests’ and to ‘boost up’ the number of requests being serviced or to close the file as ‘party not reachable’. These can be handled by machines. What we need is more human responsibility. Would these be available from our cops?
High BP near IBP Petrol Bunk in Medavakkam
 
The IBP Petrol Bunk near Medavakkam, a growing suburb in Chennai seems to be an eternal nightmare for passerbys of all sorts and creed — be them commuters of public transportation or private motorists. One can witness the callousness of traffic cops in their conspicuous absence to enforce discipline in the area besides the lot of stray cattle that loiters around endangering themselves besides throwing open a grave insecure road for the motorists.
 
I have personally registered a Chennai City Traffic Police complaint through the Internet Complaint Cell vide Complaint ID ‘CTPCO00679’ around the fourth week of August but hitherto the complaint is still in the status like ‘Your complaint CTPCO00679 is being reviewed’. 
 
Hence I just thought of sharing  the state of affair of the road with others too. Last week while commuting through this stretch when I saw the IBP petrol bunk the name made me think that this is really making the blood vessels to bump high and low. The badly constructed speed breaker with incorrect gradient also is for sure to give you a rough jolt when you negotiate the stretch. At least till CCTP wakes up from the slumber to address the menace, we ought to exercise an extra bit of caution whilst negotiating through this  Velachery – Tambaram state highway 48 (also known as  Marmalong – Irumbuliyur Road).