July 2017

If you are thinking that using an @OlaCabs attached auto is going to be cost-effective, 8 in 10 times you might be wrong as a quick set of experiments confirmed us.

Unlike booking a cab, auto booking works like this.

1) Request Auto from the App after showing a broad estimate for the distance. For example it might show INR 29.
2) Request sent to a few autos in the neighborhood.
3) App goes into ‘Waiting for confirmation …’ mode. The auto drivers leave the apps to time out and the app complains no autos are there in the vicinity. Now the app says the prices are increased. The estimate shows INR 50 and now when the request is sent to the same set of drivers they confirm it.

Looks like even under auto aggregation, Chennai Auto drivers now every bit to extort the passengers.

If you had tried using the online reservation facility with Indian Railways the most common setbacks that you witness are below.

  1. Steep service charges
  2. Payment Gateway charges
  3. Daylight robbery in case you chose to cancel the tickets.

A petition to this effect to rationalize the charges was sent to the office of Prime Minister on 20 March 2017 vide PMOPG/E/2017/0154217 and a response was obtained on 3rd July 2017 as below.

1. Railway has already withdrawn the service charge of Rs 30/- applicable on transactions against Credit and Debit Cards for purchasing journey tickets w.e.f. 18/05/2016 in case of PRS tickets and 22/12/2016 in case of unreserved tickets. However, the service charge collected by respective banks on use of cards is not under the control of Indian Railway. 2. Cancellation of tickets involves two transactions, namely, one for booking and another for cancellation. Clerkage and cancellation charges are levied to cover the cost of service for issuing and cancellation of tickets which include cost of staff, heavy investment for providing booking/cancellation facility through internet and providing PRS counters even at smaller stations, maintenance cost of the systems, etc. Cancellation charge has been kept high to prevent and curb the malpractice of overbooking and hoarding.

Most of the service providers in banking and telecom in India have stopped giving Toll Free number for customer service and are either charging for agent assistance or having the agents service on the Toll number. Some of them like Citibank have customer service on 860 PREMIUM telephone line.

For example,

  1. Airtel 121 Toll Free for IVR 50 paise per minute for Agent
  2. Vodafone 111 -do-
  3. Idea Customer Care does not exist.
  4. Tata Docomo 198 Complaints number is also chargeable
  5. Citibank 860 PREMIUM
  6. ICICI Local

We sent a request to the office of Prime Minister vide PMOPG/E/2017/0361055 on 30th June 2017 regarding the above to take steps to ensure all service providers have a TOLL FREE 1800 number for customer service which is an international standard.

As per their response on 6th July 2017 that it is a policy matter and need to dealt by TRAI, the petition was forwarded to the following personnel in TRAI.

  1. ap@trai.gov.in;
  2. cp@trai.gov.in;
  3. memberak@trai.gov.in;
  4. ravi.rssharma76@gmail.com;
  5. mamidala@ee.iitd.ac.in;
  6. secretary@trai.gov.in;
  7. sunil.bajpai@trai.gov.in;
  8. pradvnsl@trai.gov.in;
  9. skmishra@trai.gov.in;
  10. sanjiv.singh@trai.gov.in;
  11. advadmn@trai.gov.in;
  12. advlegal@trai.gov.in;
  13. sksinghal@trai.gov.in;
  14. mkasim@trai.gov.in;
  15. advqos@trai.gov.in;
  16. advifn@trai.gov.in;
  17. advmn@trai.gov.in;
  18. advfea1@trai.gov.in;
  19. arvindsinha59@gmail.com;
  20. adv.bengaluru@trai.gov.in;
  21. adv.jaipur@trai.gov.in;
  22. muralighanta@gmail.com

Whenever we get a telemarketing call from any bank they introduce themselves as ‘Based on your relationship with our bank’. At times it happens you might not be having an active relationship at all. Hence I wrote a petition to HDFC Bank to seek a summary of my relationships with them vide DEABD/E/2016/18444 dated 21 Dec 2016. The text of the petition is as below.

Dear Team,

Whenever I get a telemarketing call from HDFC Bank they say ‘Based on your relationship status …’. However as of currently I do not have any HDFC Bank active relationships. I had a savings account way back in 2002 (closed). Salary account 2004 closed in a few years after the employment contract got completed.

Hence I would like to have a relationship summary indicating from the beginning what are all the products/services that have been availed by me, what have been closed and when and what are still active (pending).

This would ensure that no PII has been inadvertently misused by telemarketers/DSA/TSA. Also confirm if the above summary you are generating will mention/reflect HDFC entity relationship or just HDFC bank.

Appreciate your assistance and cooperation.

Thanks and Regards,

Deepak Vasudevan


However HDFC Bank scribbled back a gibberish response on 8th February 2017 as below.


Subsequently I challenged this stupid scribbling through the office of Prime Minister on 26th May 2017 with the following text.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I lodged the enclosed complaint with HDFC Bank (DEABD/E/2016/18444) and instead of giving the relationship summary they are closing the complaint asking for telemarketing numbers. The most important part of the petition was “Hence I would like to have a relationship summary indicating from the beginning what are all the products/services that have been availed by me, what have been closed and when and what are still active (pending).

This would ensure that no PII has been inadvertently misused by telemarketers/DSA/TSA. Also confirm if the above summary you are generating will mention/reflect HDFC entity relationship or just HDFC bank.”

However HDFC has the temerity to ignore this part of the petition and scribble with some gibberish response and close the petition. Petition Posted on 21 Dec 2016 Petition Disposed on 08 Feb 2017

And another crappy response from HDFC on 13th July 2017 is as below.


Does Aditya Puri has some time to look into these teething issues with his organization rather than honeymooning 24×7 with Anitha Puri?

Only in Tamil Nadu temples you can find so many barricades setup to discriminate people based on their monetary power and segregate them based for payment to darshan. You can find minimum three queues like

  1. Public Darshan
  2. Special Darshan
  3. VIP Darshan

Temples at Sri Rangam are still worse with their dynamic pricing for even Public Darshan which are charged during specific periods.

Too much of barricades are a headache during special occasions like Shivarathri because people can not sit near sanctum sanctorum for the abhishekams etc.

The biggest reason for this monetary discrimination is that temples are owned by state administration and in order to pay for the expenses like salaries for staff they have to charge like this.

Additionally they do not ensure peace of pilgrims at darshan and involve in blatant pull and push at the sanctum sanctorums which is not a case in most other temples in other parts of India.

That said all the revenue generated goes for those authorities and the priests seems to be just vested with the meagre collections on their pooja plates.

It is time that the temples are freed from government clutches similar to churches and mosques under a separate authority to help maintain their sanctity.

It is no use petitioning to Government of Tamil Nadu regarding this even though it is the state temples that are affected by this issue and hence a petition has been sent to the office of Prime Minister vide PMOPG/E/2017/0385912 .

Most of the temple entrances in our state are mobbed with beggars and hawkers all around traumatizing a peaceful darshan of the Lord.

I don’t understand the reason behind the municipal administration and HRCE remaining silent on these issues instead of mobilizing an active beggar rehabilitation programs for the beggars at the temple vicinity. Also why not abolish hawkers and regularize sale of pooja items through temple authorized shops. This will ensure quality and avoid overcharging of items.

Also some temples even famous like Mangadu do not have secured footwear keeping counters. We need to keep footwear at our own risk in unattended racks.

A petition has been sent to Government of Tamil Nadu on 15th July 2017 vide GOVTN/E/2017/02006

The following message in vernacular Tamil is spreading virally in social media channels. The synopsis of the message is that ‘Since Pakistan is impotent to face India by force it is plotting with China to destabilize India and hence for Dussehra/Diwali, China is attempting to export 3000 crore valued fireworks with toxic chemicals at dirt cheap prices. These poisonous fireworks, the message goes to say will psychologically affect people, affect citizens with ailments like ashthma and even blind them.

The message further petitions the citizens to avoid these chinese make and also gives an indication that the products will not have ‘Made in China’ brand but written as ‘People Republic of China’.

A petition has been sent to Ministry of Home Affairs vide MINHA/E/2017/04720 to confirm the veracity  of these messages from their Intelligence.

🔴பாகிஸ்தான் இந்தியாவிடம் மோத வலுவின்றி சீனா மூலம் சூழ்ச்சியில் இறங்கி இந்தியாவை அழிக்க முடிவு செய்துள்ளது 🔴அதாவது நவராத்திரி மற்றும் தீபாவளிக்கு 3000 கோடி அளவுக்கு நச்சுதன்மையுள்ள ஆபத்தான பட்டாசுகள் மற்றும் விளக்குகளை இந்தியாவில் மிக குறைந்த விலைக்கு விற்பனை செய்ய உள்ளனர். 🔴 இதனால் நமது இந்திய மக்களின் மனநிலை பாதிக்கப்படும். உடனடியாக கடுமையான ஆஸ்துமா வரும். கண்கள் குருடாகும். 🔴 நாம் செய்ய வேண்டியது…சீன பட்டாசுகள், எலக்ட்ரானிக் பொருட்களை தயவுசெய்து யாரும் வாங்க (வாங்க விட) வேண்டாம். 👉 குறிப்பு: புதிதாக சீனாவின் தயாரிப்பில் Made in China இருப்பதில்லை, மாற்றாக PRC (People Republic of China) என்று அச்சிடப்பட்டுள்ளது. தாமதமின்றி உடனே மற்றவர்களுக்கு பகிரவும்…🙏.

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