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RE: A small list



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While I appreciate what Sanjeev says, here is another point of view. The

point of view is from Hyderabad and from a member of a not
under-privileged
class. Here it goes, point by point to Sanjeev's list.

Sanjeev says:
* Garbage is thrown and piled up by people on the
roadside since there is no bin provided  or the bins
are broken themselves (just come to my house to see a
huge garbage heap outside my backyard!).

My point: Come and see Hyderabad. It is a much better place than it was
before. Roads are cleaned every night, by private agencies. Often, you
will
find it hard to find places where you would like to throw your garbage,
since things are generally clean.

Sanjeev says:
*       People urinate all over the place leading to
obnoxious smells since we do not know how to run
public urinals (Sulabh Sauchalayas, where are you?).
        My point: True generally.

Sanjeev says:
*       The notes supplied by banks are put into packs of
100 each by use of 4 huge rusted staples pierced
through the bunch, which not only take superhuman
strength to open, but require big screwdrivers and
other tools to take apart, thus tearing up the notes
in the process. Bankers cause damage to the notes they
are supposed to preserve!

*       Banks supply you Rs.500 notes which are then not
accepted in the market, and indeed are not accepted by
banks themselves (so leading to one more personal trip
to senior officials of the bank! The last one was when
the teller would not start transacting till well
beyond 10:30 am. India is one long line, where
everyone waits for everything on earth, including
making payment! For getting your money, you have to
wait, of course. We dislike smoothness in life and
will not provide ATMs. We would much rather go on
strike against computerization)

My point: Try out foreign banks and Indian private banks. Great service
and
no hassles! Many ATMs around, at least in this part of the world. No
problems with computerization exist today with nationalized banks also.

Sanjeev says:
*       The telephones either don't work at all, or possess
massive static and noise, or dial up wrong numbers, or
receive wrong numbers (I get about 4 wrong numbers to
each correct one), or you can't hear the party who is
calling you, or you hear your own echo! Miraculous is
the ability of our telephone department to mess up a
simple gadget called a telephone which can be
mass-produced in Timbuctoo or Afghanistan if needed.

My point: All our phones work. There are rarely wrong numbers since most
are
connected over electronic exchanges. Communication is perhaps the
finest.
Phones are on demand. And, private companies are offering competing
basic
telephone services which are equally good or better.

Sanjeev says:
* To get the internet, due to the government monopoly
over the system, there is scarcity of supply of dialup
ports, leading to a long waiting list for provision of
the connection, which you overcome by pressurizing the
GM Telephones, and thereafter you fill out a long
form, wait for a demand note to be sent to you, submit
money in a different office located in a distant
building (before 12:30 am else their counter closes!),
and then wait endlessly for the internet exchange to
inform you about your account being activated. After
that (and this is based on the experience of my
friends) you dial up a series of different numbers,
upto 80 times and whenever you are connected, you get
disconnected in a short while. And as a bonus for
being a loyal Indian, you pay at rates much higher
than people 50 times richer, pay in USA. And you see
huge massive buildings and hundreds of staff belonging
to the great DOT, feeding less than a few thousand
subscribers. Communication in India is a luxury. Long
live industrialization!

I say:  You get internet connection in a day. Here you get a phone
connection free for every internet account with VSNL!
And, every city has a private ISP who will give you the connection at
your
door step, same day.

Sanjeev says:

*       It is still not customary to use computers in the
government, leading to unending problems of
organization and communication. One short draft letter
takes two days with many corrections and re-typings,
costing well over Rs. 1500/- in labor costs of the
stenos and officers. And e-mail is not used, of
course, adding hundreds of rupees and many days to the
delivery cost of that letter.

I say: It is quite customary in government departments to use computers.

Many departments are quite advanced in using them.

Sanjeev says:
* Virtually no ATMs exist - at least not in the
North-east. Therefore, if you somehow miss drawing
cash from banks before a series of holidays, you are
stranded without cash and have to borrow from others
to survive the holidays.

I have replied above.

Sanjeev says:
*       There is inadequate supply of coinage, a basic
function of the government, leading to situations
where shopkeepers turn down purchases made by you if
you do not furnish exact change. I have not been able
to buy biscuits worth Rs.12 because I did not have
change. And the less said about our leprous Rs.2 and
Rs.5 notes, the better.

My point: not true here. We have enough coins and notes are ok. However,
I
know that the situation re notes is bad in Gujarat, at least.

Sanjeev says:
* Shoelaces are not available in "Bata" shops or
regular shoe shops since 'there is no longer any
supply,' and you make do with laces which are far too
short for your shoes, by leaving huge gaps in the
lace-up.

I say: Really?

Sanjeev says:
* Everything is scarce. You hunt and you hunt. You
make special lists of shops which might keep a
telephone or electrical socket of reasonable quality,
power cord, tennis ball, good stationary, and so on.
No one-stop shopping here. You peck from shop to shop,
collecting one item after the other. And of course you
cannot order over phone, nor expect mail delivery of
goods. More often, you get a poor substitute or simply
give up.

I say: Really?


Sanjeev says:
*       Your car's door lock is of such poor quality that it
does not open. You hammer it and then it yields. No
one seems to know how to produce anything of quality -
whether the private or the public sector.

Your car's ignition key slips out and falls down on
the floor mat as you wait on a slope; and of course
the car stalls and stops. Being a stick shift as there
are no automatics in India, it requires unbelievable
dexterity to somehow restart it and move ahead again
without causing a serious accident.  Your car's parts
such as screws and wires come out at all odd time on
journeys of merely 100 km, brakes fail regularly
(brake oil leaks out mysteriously), and it is a sheer
miracle that you still have a life-expectancy above
30.

I say: which car do you use? Perhaps, an Amby since you are in
government
service. With Maruti onwards, such problems are non-existent.

Sanjeev says:
*       You bargain for milk not mixed with water with your
milkman by offering him a much higher than 'market'
rate.
I say: Capitalism.

Sanjeev says:
*       Electric power is of such a bad quality that you pay
more than your entire annual electricity bill in
purchasing stabilizers and UPSs for your equipment.
And so many emergency lights, electric torches, and
even inverters and generators.

*       Getting kerosene and gas to run your kitchen are
tasks of such immense magnitude that the travails in
securing these are best left unrecorded. The amount of
paperwork and ridiculous procedures that we follow are
so mindboggling that it is a miracle that so many
people still use these modern 'facilities' instead of
using coal and wood to cook food. And of course our
kerosene stoves do not work properly, causing the food
cooked on the stove to reek of kerosene. And rubber
pipes of the gas stoves leak gas. You have to be on
the alert lest your house gets burnt down by these
'facilities.'


I repeat: Really? Things are much better here.

Like Sanjeev, my hands also got tired, so I have stopped replying to all
his
other points and have deleted them from this reply mail.

I believe the difference is because he and I live in different
countries. He
lives in the North East and I in Hyderabad. He should visit Hyderabad to

know the difference. And what difference can a good, working CM make.

Ajay Gandhi





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