Monday, November 24, 2014

Cheating Long Distance Cab Drivers of Mumbai.

Passengers arriving to Mumbai by long distance trains are generally tired and in a hurry to reach home.  If some one is receiving those passengers, it is fine. 

The problem is when one has to take a cab from one of these stations like Mumbai Ctl, CST, etc. 

There are cab drivers who catch you right on platform. They will  negotiate the price and try to motivate you to take the cab. It is known that the gullible passengers travel with them and realise later on that they have been overcharged. 

There is nothing new that I have stated. The point that I am making is different. Yesterday we alighted at Borivali. I am aware of the racket mentioned above. We were therefore planning to take a cab from regular queue randomly. 

Ad we were leaving the  platform a cab driver asked us to take him. He also said that he will charge by meter. Since we felt that if the driver is going by meter there is little chance of cheating. We took that cab to go to Nalasopara. 

When we reached our destination the bill was Rs 1067. Instantly I knew I have been cheated but having agreed to pay by meter which was showing that amount I had no option but pay. Later on I checked the distance which turned out to be 38 km and charges on mindicator app showed the fare for that distance to be just about Rs 600.

The education that I gained is the meter of this cab was rigged. Second lesson (which I always knew but missed yesterday) is always take a cab from the queue outside the station. Chance of getting a cab at random also randomises chance of getting cheated. Other option is to book a modern radio cab. 

I think loss of about Rs 400 was good price for the knowledge gained. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Indian Railway, the way to go.

I am presently in August Kranti Rajadhani on my way to Mumbai. Rajadhani trains at least on Delhi - Mumbai route are famous for their catering service feeding the passengers non stop. Well I have not travelled in any other Rajadhani therefore I can comment about Delhi -  Mumbai Rajadhani.

The train in spick and span,  shining and very clean. Service quality is very close to airlines style (barring air hostesses). Food quality is reasonable. The Refreshment try has a tray mat which has whole schedule and menu of catering service. It also has a line, 'No tips please'.

The catering staff is businesslike. The TTE is polite and again business like. In general the over all experience in last two hours is enjoyable.

I know every train is not Rajadhani. Provide these kind of services on other trains would shoot up the cost of ticket.  Non reserved trains and trains with sleeper class has to many people. All is correct.

What I feel is, Railways should have a modular concept. First module should be basic which is available to all passengers. Some bits already exist like drinking water on all stations,  waiting halls,  etc. There is definately a needsto upgrade this module in terms of cleanliness in the comparemts,  water in the toilets and biodigester toilets (already introduced in some trains).

As the class of travel become sleeper class, one more module of additional services is added and so on till first AC class. This way the modularity will result in set protocols for Railway employees to flow. They would know what service must be provided to which class.  Both travellers and the railway would benefit.

Service model of Delhi - Mumbai Rajadhani could become benchmark to break it down to various modules.

Keep it up Railways, your services on August  Kranti exp have improved.  That is the way to go. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rampal episode - We have a tradition of Not learning from the past

There is a stand off at Satlok !!!! Ashram at Hisar in Haryana. A person, so called God man called Rampal is holed up in his Ashram and has been hoodwinking the P & H High court. He is under the protection of his own force and is using women and children as shield. If he is a godman with godly powers why is he scared, he can use his powers and just vanish. The standoff could have been avoided.

Is it not a repeat performance by the government of a state or center? In 1984, some one was allowed to merrily accumulate huge number of supporters and arms in a holiest of the holy place of Sikhism without any check or hindrance. When the time came to call the person to answer the law, no one had any solution. In this country, when there is no solution, the only solution is call the Army. Army was called to flush out that person and his followers.

Army had to take casualties and wreck destruction to do its task. Mind you, the soldiers were, as trained, doing merely their task but the results were that many paid with their life. The effect continued for many years in many forms. A former Army chief, General Vaidya had to loose his life.

In this nation the administration never learns. The confrontation that is going on is almost a repeat performance of what happened during arrest of Asaram. How do we allow these people to gather such resources in their places unhindered. It is being reported that Satlok Ashram walls are 30 to 50 ft high. Is there no rule on height of walls of a place.

First we allow situation to escalate, then we carryout the action at the cost of loss of many lives from both sides, holed up culprits and their hostages as also police (or Army when they are called). And then there are diversions. It is true that media has been mishandled and beaten up. Now, for media, asking Haryana Police to accepting responsibility seems number one priority, that the army of Rampal is firing on police, throwing petrol and acid bombs and explosive sticks have suddenly become irrelevant.

Many a police and civilians as also NSG commandos suffered during 26/11 attack on Mumbai due to News Channels fetish of reporting as real time as possible also has been conveniently forgotten. The people responsible for attacking media must be investigated particularly after the media was permitted by DGP, Haryana but is this the time to devote energy on it? It has given handle to political parties who might be responsible in letting this man reach this far. Their main focus is to condemn attack on Journalist and not the actions of Ashram.

A very Muddy situation and every front we seem to have learned nothing from the past. If we don't learn history, we are destined to become history. We should learn but when will we learn is the question.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Decency, have we forgotten this trait.

We have just passed 14th November. It was Bal Diwali and also world diabetes day. But most importantly it was Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru's 125th birth day. 

He was our first Prime Minister. He was the architect of modern India. Today, we may disagree with his policies in the advantage of hindsight that we have. We should not forget that the situation then was very different and what he did that time was possibly the best for that time and place (India that was at that time). Simple things like three tier technical education system (ITI, polytechnic and engg colleges) have transformed this nation. I can go on but my point in this post is very different. 

125th Birth Anniversary of this great man should have been cause of nation wide celebrations. So are they not happening? They are but how?
What should have been a unifying event has been made a mockery of. INC lines up programme but does not have the decency to invite people from some of the parties including the ruling party,  BJP. This as if they and they alone hold the IPR on the brand Nehru. By one act a great national figure has been reduced to a partisan leader of just one of the party out of the many parties existing in this nation. 

There are programmes organised by the government of the day (headed by BJP). what is not clear is that did they invite wide spectrum people including politicians of all parties. They should have because any party can behave in any manner but govt of the day does not have such a luxury. 

If they invited everyone, good. The way the politics of the country has become partisan, decency seems to be the biggest casualty, there is thus a doubt, did the govt function done with a invite to all?

 Hope these people from political domain get well soon and get back this vital trait earlier, else the polity will be the looser. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Unfortunate death of two youth in Nawgam, J & K

Two youth have been killed on a army checkpoint yesterday. Unnecessary loss of life is unfortunate. Why should the young lives be wasted.

However, in the furore over their death a very important point is being missed (provided they did not stop at the check Point despite warning to do so is correct). That point is why did they not stop when asked to do so. Was it youthful exuberance which made them to test the seriousness (like we used to do when we,  as children, stole fruits from fruit garden knowing fully well that the Chowkdat will catch us anytime). Or was it misplaced bravado. It could well be that they did not understand the instructions to stop and continued.

But think from the Security Forces point of view. All over the world Security Forces personnel have lost their lives on countless Road blocks. It happens like this.

Checkpoint personal see a car approaching. They warn it to stop. The car does not and nor does it slow down. Personal fire warning shots (may not be all times),  the car continues. They fire on car tyres. The car stops. When the car is surrounded for checking,  the occupants explode the car resulting in death of all security personnel and destruction of the check post.

It has happened in Iraq,  Afghanistan and even in Pakistan. Has that happened in Kashmir, may be,  I don't have specific details.

Our sympathy is with the family members of these boys. But did our soldiers,  already doing a tough job, have any other option when the car did not stop or slowdown? In the hindsight we may think of many but in reality they,  At that moment,  possibly had none. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sena and Dy CM

In one of my earlier blog some days ago I had said that BJP seems to have a plan in Maharashtra for govt formation with or without SS.

BJP has already formed the government. SS has still not made up its mind. Some rumours say that SS wants Dy CMs post and some specific ministries.

May be.  But they were in a position to have all this bargain only and only if they had been in pre poll alliance amicably with BJP. Having lost that opportunity may be because of their or BJPs adamant attitude. At this stage they should look for via media to come together and work for people of the state.

There is enough to do and prove in every ministry and they should prove their worth in which ever portfolio they get. A specific ministry may be good to make party funds,  if one has to  work for people,  any ministry is as good.

As for Dy CM, it creates power centres with in state govt and should be avoided even if the dy CM is from the same party. If accountability and governance are  to be ensured, Dy CM institution is detrimental and should be avoided at any cost.

In any case SS has very little chips to  bargain. Let them rather concentrate about good of the people of Maharashtra.