L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Akali Dal (A) moves NHRC on Hawara’s torture
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) has moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to protect the religious sentiments of Jagtar Singh Hawara following reports that Delhi Police and officials of other central investigating agencies are allegedly adopting extrajudicial methods to implicate Hawara in various cases.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary and spokesperson for the party, said Hawara’s counsel Arvind Thakur had disclosed that during past 4-5 weeks, Delhi Police had grievously hurt Hawara’s religious sentiments. He alleged that the policemen had stuffed his mouth with cigarettes and other intoxicants. Thakur also expressed apprehension that Hawara could be eliminated in a fake encounter by Delhi Police.

He said in the present scenario it was easy for the state and some “nationalist” human rights bodies to gloss over the details of torture and harassment. A conspiratorial silence on such violations bordered on condoning such acts of the police and the investigating agencies. Civil society, of which the National Human Rights Commission is a part, should take immediate notice.

Irrespective of the nature of allegations against Hawara the due process of law was a prerequisite of any civilised society. Under no circumstances should Guantanamo Bay-like incident (where the Koran was held in disrespect by some prison guards) be allowed to be repeated.

“To stuff cigarettes in the mouth of a Sikh is akin to snuffing out his life. To use cigarettes as a weapon is an intolerable act. The entire Sikh people, who have read such reports, share the agony of those moments of torture when Delhi Police did such disrespectful and intimidating acts. This deliberate act was intentioned, not only to be used as an investigating tool but also to provoke the Sikhs.”

Prof Jagmohan Singh said such an act attracted the provisions of the IPC, namely Section 295- A read with Sections 148 and 149. Section 295-A lists deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. Sections 148 and 149 refer to the collective guilt of the concerned officers. It is also violative of India’s international commitment to ensure that no one is tortured and the religious beliefs of every person are respected.

The party has deliberately not petitioned the Panjab State Human Rights Commission as its working is in limbo because of the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the commission members. Even this problem requires the active consideration of the NHRC. The Punjab police should be directed to stop harassing Hawara’s wife, Balwinder Kaur, and all other friends and relatives illegally detained by the police.

Prof Jagmohan Singh said the SAD (Amritsar) sought a high-level inquiry and the registration of criminal cases against the guilty police personnel. The guilty police officials should be identified, arrested, tried and punished.



Hawara’s car seized
Jupinderjit Singh

A police team from Khanna today seized a Honda City car, allegedly used by Babbar Khalsa International chief Jagtar Singh Hawara for several months for his networking, from the car bazaar, Feroze Gandhi market, here.

A family of Barmali Pur village, near Payal, owned the car. The police is questioning a youth of the family in this regard. The police was trying to find out if the youth knew the identity of Hawara.

The car was parked here for the past few weeks for sale purpose. Police sources revealed that during his interrogation, Hawara had revealed to the Chandigarh police that he used the Honda City car owned by a family in Barmali Pur village.

Police sources said Hawara had mainly used this vehicle while travelling from one city to another. He used his motrocycle for travelling in and around Samrala.

The youth was picked up for questioning this morning. He revealed that the car was put up for sale in the car bazaar here. The police raided the bazaar. The raid caused quite a commotion at the place. The car dealer who was selling the car was reportedly unaware that Hawara had used the car.

It is probably for the first time that a car used by an alleged terrorist was being put on sale here.



Sameer ‘implicated’ in Hawara case
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 14
About 100 persons, including staff of the Punjab State Electricity Board and teachers union, took out a protest march against the Chandigarh police for allegedly implicating Sameer (22), son of Avtar Singh, LA DEO office, Ludhiana, in a case linked with Hawara.

They presented a memorandum to the SSP, Jagraon, stating that Sameer was picked up on July 10 from Sundar Nagar, Kacha Malak Road, Jagraon, by some commandos in uniform and later implicated in false cases under various sections by the Chandigarh police. They claimed that they had informed the SSP the day Sameer was picked up and taken away and demanded the withdrawal of false cases against Sameer and his immediate release.



Protest by American Sikhs awaits PM
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
A protest demonstration awaits Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he visits Washington on July 18 to meet American President George Bush over a cup of tea. Sikh demonstrators from all across the US would assemble at Lassayette Park, protesting the alleged violation of civil and political rights in Punjab.

According to Prof Jagmohan Singh, secretary-general of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Amritsar, the demonstration will have hundreds of Sikhs, carrying placards denouncing the detention of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president and other leaders of the party and Kanwarpal Singh of Dal Khalsa. He said the demonstrators will also protest the alleged violation of human rights in Punjab and “the spate of state repression let lose by the Indian Government in Punjab”.

He said American Sikhs will demand the release of Sikh youths languishing in jails for a very long time. The Sikh demonstrators will include women and children and they will seek a peaceful resolution of the Sikh problem. He alleged that Dr Manmohan Singh’s Congress Government was responsible for continuing the policy of repression in Punjab.

He said prominent among the participants in the demonstration include the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), America Region, the Sikh Youth of America, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur International Society and more than two dozen gurdwara committees. Some of these are gurdwara sahib, Richmond Hill, New York, gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar, New Jersey, and gurdwara Khalsa Darbar, New Jersey. These demonstrators will arrive from the tri-states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pensylvania.

He revealed that a full-page advertisement would be placed in the Washington Times highlighting the role of the Indian Government since 1947 “against the Sikhs in Punjab”. Before this, there was a protest organised by sikhs against Dr Manmohan Singh and the Indian Government in London. Sikhs have also protested in California, vancouver and Toronto outside the Indian Embassies in these cities.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) will continue its campaign in the international arena to gain support for restoration of fundamental rights of the people of Punjab, he said. 



Unemployed teachers hold protest
Demand release of jailed colleagues
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
Dressed in black clothes and in iron chains, members of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union held a rally outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Mini Secretariat here today.

The rally was in protest against the arrest of some members of the union and remanding them in judicial custody for 14 days. They were arrested when they were protesting outside Mr Harnam Das Johar’s house on July 9 to pressurise the Punjab Government to fill in 6,000 vacancies. They were first booked under Section 144 of the IPC but later charged under Section 188 and sent to the Ludhiana Central Jail.

The unemployed ETT teachers had come from Moga, Ropar, Nawanshahr and Fatehgarh Sahib to participate in the rally. They had planned to meet at Chattar Singh Park near Bus Stop, but the police had been deployed there since yesterday in large numbers. So the teachers met outside the DC’s office.

They demanded the arrested teachers to be released immediately. Parents of the arrested teachers had also joined the protest rally. The teachers marched up to main Post Office on the Ferozepore road and blocked the traffic for some time.

Meanwhile, the arrested teachers too have gone on chain fast to protest against the government high-handedness. In a statement issued from the jail by Mr Jaswider Singh Sidhu, district president of the ETTU, said they were not going to give up their struggle in spite of the fact that more than 20 teachers have been taken ill. It also said that if the government does not fill the vacancies, then the teachers will intensify their struggle and the chain fast would turn into fast unto death. The note said, “Today we took out a protest rally in the jail. We shouted slogans against the unjust policies of the government. Our morale got a boost when the other jail inmates too joined us”.

In an emergency meeting held here yesterday, Mr Surinder Singh Mohali, president, Elementary Teachers Union, condemned the Punjab Government for putting the unemployed teachers in the jail. They said the government should give them the jobs than arresting them.

They also condoled the death of an ETT teacher who committed suicide a few days ago in Amritsar and demanded the compensation for the family.



Gastro cases continue
20 new patients report
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 14
The incidence of gastroenteritis and other water borne diseases in several colonies in Sherpur and Jamalpur areas on the periphery of the city, has shown no respite and at least 20 fresh cases were reported in civil hospital and a couple of private hospitals, feeding the affected localities during last 24 hours.

While the health and civic officials continue to maintain that the situation was under control, information gathered from different sources revealed that since Monday last, as many as 245 cases of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases have been reported from different parts of the city.

With five new patients of severe diarrhoea, four of them from Bhagat Singh Colony in Sherpur, having been admitted in local Civil Hospital since last evening, the number of gastroenteritis cases in this hospital has gone up to 15. The medical specialist in the hospital, Dr Karamvir Goyal, told Ludhiana Tribune that though the condition of all patients was stable, some of them were in shock due to dehydration when brought to the hospital for treatment.

Four fresh cases of gastroenteritis were reported at Arora Hospital in Sherpur and seven patients were admitted at Nauhria Hospital in the Jamalpur area till this afternoon. According to Dr Satish Nauhria, most of the patients came from Bhagat Singh Colony from where the outbreak of gastroenteritis was first reported on Monday evening and some others from Muslim Colony in Ward No 18.

Dr S.S. Dhir, SMO, Sahnewal, who is supervising the medical camp, put up by the health administration in Sherpur, informed that no patient of gastroenteritis reported in the OPD today. He said four teams of the Health Department had continued house visits in the affected colonies and 561 houses were visited by officials and supporting staff.

The health teams have, till now, distributed more than 40,000 chlorine tablets, nearly 1700 packets of ORS, besides distributing medicines to the mild cases of the disease who were taking treatment at their respective homes.

As many as 15 blood slides of patients suffering from fever had also been prepared for screening against malaria.

According to Dr Dhir, the sanitation level in Bhagat Singh Colony and some other surrounding residential colonies had improved during the past two days but there was still scope for more improvement. The teams of health officials, he added, were holding health education camps and group meetings with area residents to drive home the need for personal hygiene, which could go a long way in preventing several water-borne diseases.

That the outbreak of gastroenteritis was caused due to contaminated water supply, was evident from the figures made available by the Health Department, which was a sort of an eye opener, belying all claims of the municipal administration that the water supply was potable.

“Out of 303 water samples taken from different localities in the city, including colonies under the attack of water-borne diseases, as many as 116 have been found unfit for human consumption in microbiological tests. The results of 28 samples are awaited. Similarly, a shocking number of 540 water samples out of a total of 603, have failed the chlorination test,” revealed a health official while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

The health officials further said the reports of water samples had been sent to the civic administration for remedial action and the district authorities were also intimated.



Congressmen hail Dullo’s appointment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, today hailed the appointment of Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, as president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. He said, Ms Sonia Gandhi took the right decision to gear up and strengthen the party at the grass-roots level. Meanwhile, several workers celebrated the appointment of Mr Dullo at the district party office here. They burst crackers and also distributed sweets.

Congratulating Mr Dullo, Mr Johar said he was an experienced and seasoned politician, who had always watched and safeguarded the interest of the neglected and downtrodden. Describing Mr Dullo as an upright, sincere and true parliamentarian with qualities of head and heart, Mr Johar hoped that his appointment would certainly boost the morale of the rank and file in the Congress. He said, his image would bring cohesiveness and harmony among the party workers.

Former Member Parliament Gurcharan Singh Galib also hailed the appointment of Mr Dullo. Mr Galib said, by appointing Mr Dullo to the post of the PCC president, Ms Sonia Gandhi had conveyed the clear message that the Congress was a party of grass-root workers. He pointed out that Mr Dullo was himself had been a grass-root level worker.

The Secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress, Mr Parminder Mehta, also welcomed the appointment of Mr Dullo. The district unit of the Teachers’ Cell of the PPC, the Punjab Municipal Workers’ Federation, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Scheduled Tribes Cell, the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation, the Lal Bahadur Shastri Social Forum and the Jawahar Nagar New Welfare Society have also welcomed Mr Dullo’s appointment.

The Legal Cell of the PPCC has hailed Mr Dullo’s appointment.

Mr Parshotam Das Sharma, a former Chairman of the PPCC Legal Cell, claimed that his appointment would strengthen the party at the grass-roots level and brighten the prospects of the party in the next Assembly elections.

Mr Dharamjit Singh Khera, Chairman, Legal Cell, Ludhiana, Mr Ashok Bhakri, convener, Mr Ramesh Lakhanpal, Mr Kamaljit Sharma, Mr Sharwan Sehgal, Mr T.S. Sood, Mr S.K. Pathak, Mr Pardip Sharma, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr S.S. Garcha also hailed his appointment.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government Pensioners Association has congratulated Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo on his appointment as President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. This was stated in a press note issued by Mr Yash Paul Ghai, additional general secretary, Government Pensioners Association.

The association hoped that he would address the pensioners’ problems and ask the government to fulfil the promises contained in the Congress election manifesto during the Assembly elections in February, 2002. These promises include a raise in medical allowance and house rent for pensioners. The pensioners also seek old age allowance at the age of 80 as this facility has been given to former MLAs/pensioners in Punjab.

SAMRALA: At a joint press statement here on Thursday, Mr S.K. Pipat, chairman, and Mr Parminder Gill, general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (Legal Cell), respectively, have hailed the appointment of Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, as President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.



Two women, 3 children hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 14
Two women and three children were injured when a fast moving car allegedly hit them today.
According to information, Ms Baljit Kaur 50, of Jalalabad, Moga, came to Kothe Hari Singh, Nanaksar, to take along her married daughter Preeti, 27 and her grand children Ramandeep Kaur, 4 Manjeet Kaur, 2, and Raj aged 3 months.

They all were waiting for some vehicle near the local crossing in front of a shop when a Maruti car No. PB-62-0330 hit them, injuring all of them. The car then rammed into a nearby shop damaging its furniture and other articles. People caught the driver of the car, Avinash Kumar of Ludhiana, and handed him over to the police. The five injured were brought to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon. Manjeet Kaur and Raj were discharged after first aid but the other three injured were admitted. Later, Preeti was referred to some hospital in Ludhiana as her condition was serious.



Passing Thru

Dr Vinay Aggarwal
Dr Vinay Aggarwal, Secretary-General, Indian Medical Association, New Delhi.

Is the medical fraternity alive to its social commitments ?

Of course. The IMA had formulated a plan — ‘Aao Gaon Chalein’ — in August 2004 to reach out to the village population through the adoption of a village each by its 1,600 branches. During the past 10 months, the association has adopted 400 villages, including 16 in Punjab, where basic medical facilities are being made available at the doorstep of the rural people.

On ‘doctors day’ observed on July 1, the IMA initiated another programme to make the country anaemia-free. The blood disorder, caused by iron deficiency, can be easily treated and managed at nominal expenditure.

Your views on the health infrastructure in the country ?

In a vast country like India, health infrastructure, particularly in the government sector, leaves much to be desired. As a large number of people are deprived of medical facilities, we need to evolve a system of an ideal mix of the private and government sectors to make available reasonably good medical care to the people at affordable cost.

What brought you to Ludhiana ?

The IMA is holding its national conference ‘Academicia 2005’ at Ludhiana in October for the first time at a place other than Delhi. It will be attended by delegates from all over the country and abroad. The preparations made by the organising committee for this purpose were reviewed and found satisfactory.

— Kuldip Bhatia



Akalis turn up for meeting despite its cancellation
Iqbal Singh

Khanna, July 14
A large number of Akali workers reached Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha to chalk out a plan for the Isru Conference to be organised on August 15 despite the announcement of cancellation of the meeting.

A meeting was called by Bibi Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, former MP, on July 13 and a parallel meeting was called by Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, sitting MP, on July 16.

On July 11, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary of the Akali Dal cancelled both meetings and said a new date would be announced after consultation with the two leaders. The reports of cancellation of meetings were published in the newspapers. Despite this, hundreds of people reached at the venue today.

Bibi Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal while addressing the gathering said she was surprised to see the huge gathering. She said the attendance was a good sign for the Akali Dal. Youth leader Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, Harchand Singh Alipur, Prof Gurbax Singh Bija and Iqbal Singh, senior vice-president, Akali Dal (Ludhiana Rural), also addressed the meeting.

Ardas was performed for the unity of Akali Dal and the wellbeing of party president Parkash Singh Badal on the occasion.

Mr Swarn Singh Sandhu, advocate, Jatinder Pal Singh, president, Youth wing, Teja Singh, advocate, Jassa Singh Galwadi, Bibi Mohinder Kaur, Harvir Singh Sonu, Mehar Singh Ikolaha , Kulwant Singh Ikolaha, Gurmeet Singh Rasulra, Amar Singh Cheema, all former sarpanches, Kashmira Singh, Bahadar Singh and Hardev Singh, all Directors of Land Mortgage Bank, Khanna, Sher Singh Purba, Gurdeep Singh Lalheri, Darshan Singh Kot Pnaich, Surinder Singh Dhillon, all sarpanches, Paramjit Singh Bobby, Gurdeep Singh Deepa, Surjan Singh Thekedar and many other panches, sarpanches and other prominent personalities attended the meeting.



Bank employees hold protest 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Protesting against the allegedly rigid, adamant and uncompromising attitude of the bank’s management, employees of the State Bank of Patiala held a protest demonstration in front of the bank’s regional office in Miller Ganj here today. The employees also threatened to hold a dharna on July 20 if their demands were not met.

The call for the protest was given by the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation.

Addressing the protesting employees, Mr Ashok Malhan, organising secretary of the association, said the management of the State Bank of Patiala had taken a unilateral decision to close down 21 extension counters of the bank in various places and to amalgamate the Chennai branch. These actions of the management were an indication of its future strategy, which was to close more branches and effecting mergers in the name of consolidation, he said.

The association alleged that in a number of branches, there were no security guards and employees were working without proper security. In some branches, there was not even a single member of sub-staff, the association said.

“Despite requests on various occasions to the management no steps have been taken to recruit security guards. Rather, the management is insisting on outsourcing the security system to which we are totally opposed,” he added.

The employees said there was an acute shortage of clerical staff in the bank due to which employees in several branches had to sit for long hours due to the Core Banking Solution. No substitute has been provided in the past for promotions, retirements and resignation, they said.

The association members alleged that no promotion test was conducted for promotions from sub-staff to clerical staff. They also said the bank’s balance sheet was finalised on April 30, but despite requests, no meeting of the Head Office Welfare Committee has been conducted so far, which shows the management’s lack of concern towards the welfare of employees.

According to the association, the bank purchased more than 25 flats in Ludhiana and Jalandhar, the possession of which was given four years ago by the authorities. “While an investment of Rs 5 crore has been made on these flats, the management is not renovating them. Instead, it is paying rent for leased accommodation of 25 officers, which is costing around Rs 1.5 lakh per month,” the association alleged.



Shopkeepers protest lack of civic amenities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
Led by members of the Gur Mandi Traders Association, shopkeepers from one of the major wholesale markets in the city staged a protest demonstration at the Municipal Corporation here yesterday against the lack of civic amenities in the market. The shopkeepers threatened to gherao the Mayor and senior civic officials if their problems were not addressed within a week.

Mr Sunil Mehra, former councillor and general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, speaking at the occasion, lamented that the civic body had been turning a blind eye to the problems being faced by the shopkeepers in the Gur Mandi for the past more than one year. The sewerage in the market was completely choked and overflowing at several places, the internal roads were in a pathetic condition and the streetlights non-functional.

Mr Mehra pointed out that as a result of choked and overflowing sewerage, even after a short spell of rain dirty water get accumulated all over the market, making life miserable for traders and customers. At times, the condition was so bad due to foul smell emanated by stagnating water on the roads that customers avoided coming to the market.

The protesters further complained that over an year ago the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, had promised in a ‘khula darbar’ to provide all basic amenities in the market and launch a project for giving a ‘face lift’ to the prime commercial centre. “But till now, the said scheme has to see the light of the day and the market is being persistently neglected.”

The protesting shopkeepers also presented a charter of demands to the civic officials demanding an immediate action.

Among others, Mr Dharam Vir Thamman and Mr Avtar Krishan Khanna were also present on the occasion.



500 applications processed at kanungo camp
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 14
To solve the problems of people at their doorstep, a camp of Kanungo Helqa Bhadson was organised by the district administration at Bhadson village, 10 km from here, on today. People from 47 villages came with applications concerned with different departments. As many as 500 applications were processed during the camp.

Mr Sadhu Singh Dharm, Parliamentary Secretary (Home, Justice and PWD), asserted that the Government of Capt Amarinder Singh had decided to organise such camps in the rural areas to listen to the problems of people who had no money to go to the district officers. It would save time and money of the people and they could get speedy justice. In such camps, inter-department verifications are made at the spot.

The Deputy Commissioner of Patiala, Mr Tejvir Singh, Additional DC, Mr Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon, and ADC (Development), Mr Shamsher Singh Boparai, supervised the functioning of the departments. Separate tables of revenue, police, banks, agriculture, health, Red Cross, employment and social security were busy dealing with the complaints of their respective departments.

Sarpanches and numberdars of the villages were also present. The ground, compound and rooms of Government Secondary School, the venue of the camp, were full of vehicles and people. Photographs and typists were seen busy preparing photographs for licenses and applications.



Discount sales in city draw large crowds
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, July 14
Several showrooms in the city have started stock clearance sales these days. Offering a discount up to 20 per cent, buyers are on a shopping binge. The showrooms selling branded products are seeing a heavy rush of customers.

The shops are offering discounts and various schemes on brands like Lee Cooper, Peter England, Sportking, Madame, Kouton, Raymonds, Park Avenue, Arrow, etc. With catchy lines — ‘Big sale, up to 50 per cent’, ‘Avail the best deals of the season’, ‘Mega Summer Clearance sale’ — sales have been put at every nook and corner of the city.

Not only are readymade garments being given on discounts, but also footwear, leather bags and purses, other accessories and even artificial plants. The buyers, a majority of them youngsters, can be seen shopping at Ghumar Mandi, Model Town, Mall Road, Sarabha Nagar, Malhar Road, etc. Up to 40 per cent of discounts are given on sandals, slippers at various leading shops.

Rituraj, a college-going student, says some schemes are very lucrative as these offer one item free with one on branded products. “I have bought two Crocodile T-shirts and Peter England shirts under the scheme. It is worth spending on genuine sales,” he said.

“To draw more clientele towards their outlets, showroom owners will start offering heavy discounts in the coming days. Discounts reach up to 50-60 per cent as we do not want to pile up old stock. By putting sales, the money comes into circulation again and customers get benefit. It is up to the buyers to decide whether the sales are genuine or not,” said one of the salesman in showroom on the Mall Road.

The products like tapestry, bed-sheets, bed-covers, pillows, accessories, cushions, towels, etc are also on sale in some city markets. The customers can avail up to 20 per cent discount on cosmetics and even imported jewellery. These days, outsiders also visit the city to organise various exhibition-cum-sale of their products at local hotels here.



Customer care centres least helpful
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
How many times do you dial the customer care centre number of your service provider — a mobile phone company, credit card company or bank — and fail to get through despite waiting for even more than half-an-hour at times?

Many customers even give up calling these centres, which cause “more time wastage” than solving their problem.

Poor post-sales service and long waiting time or no response on numbers of customer care centres have become a routine, adding to the woes of city residents.

Says Dr S.K. Batish, a resident of village Dehlon: “The number given by this mobile phone company for its pre-paid customers simply does not respond. What is the idea of giving a customer care number of customers cannot reach them?”

While companies boast of regular orientation and training programmes for their employees, customers complain of ill-informed call centre executives. “I wanted to install the software for availing internet services offered by this telephone company. However, the executives, who I could reach only after a waiting time of almost 15 minutes, kept transferring the call from what they said, one section to another, in the end only failing to help me. It seems the only idea of a customer care centre is to convince people to go in for their services as other companies are also doing so,” Mr Aditya Sharma, another resident, said.

The situation is no better in case of banks or credit card companies. A customer of a leading private bank, Ms Shikha, says: “Every time I call up the customer care centre, it means a call for atleast 20 minutes apart from the waiting time. Then, if you get to talk to an executive, they would most of the times put one on hold, again increasing the waiting time. At times, even on hold, the call is disconnected, or perhaps they forget to attend to customers. At the end of it, one is too irritated to even talk to them. Banks also stress on verification details. If one has given a certain authentic verification, they still continue and waste time. It is high time they improve their customer care services.”

The complaints of rude executives are frequent in case of credit card companies. “The worst part is that even after registering a complaint, they do not act. All one is left to do at the end of it is to waste time in visiting the branches of these companies,” rued Mr Gurmail Singh, another resident.

Said a spokesperson of a telecom company, “We keep conducting orientation programmes for our call centre executives to ensure they are able to handle all types of customer queries. However, there could be a certain issues which have to be dealt by concerned officers.”

On long waiting time, he said, “there is no problem of waiting times in our case.”


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