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BSNL netted with some Gandhigiri

Sharath S. Srivatsa
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Last resort:A fed up Sathya Prakash Varanashi sits in a dharna at the Kumaraswamy Layout Telephone Exchange. Even then, officials were not particularly moved.— Photo: bhagya prakash k.
Last resort:A fed up Sathya Prakash Varanashi sits in a dharna at the Kumaraswamy Layout Telephone Exchange. Even then, officials were not particularly moved.— Photo: bhagya prakash k.

A week of daily trips to the State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) office could not yield results, but a three-hour dharna was sufficient to send embarrassed officials scrambling into action on Friday. Some astute Gandhigiri helped a consumer get his telephone line and Internet connection, which had gone kaput, restored.

Pillar to post

The fed up consumer was Sathya Prakash Varanashi, honorary convener of the Bangalore Chapter of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), who bestirred Kumaraswamy Layout Telephone Exchange official into action after they made him run from pillar to post.

His travails with telecom service provider started when his phone line and the Internet connection stopped working on May 21. He lodged a telephone complaint on the BSNL’s IVRS, expecting his woes to get over soon. But in subsequent days, he found not only his problems persisting but also the official obduracy in resolving it.

The utility simply closed his complaint as “solved” on May 24 and started passing the buck between offices. Mr. Varanashi, a reputed conservation architect, realised he had had enough when he was eventually told that the area lineman was yet to be traced. On Friday around 11 a.m. he reached the telephone exchange and sat on the floor on the office premises in protest. Considering he didn’t want to miss out on his work, he opened his laptop and diary and started working assiduously, unmindful of bemused customers and officials.

Officials unmoved

“I sat there for some time and not one official turned up to ask what the matter was, though an employee came and asked me to leave,” Mr. Varanashi told The Hindu . Finally, a lineman, identified as Babu, approached him and offered help voluntarily if he withdrew his protest.

However, Mr. Varanashi, wise to BSNL’s ways by now, didn’t budge till his line was restored. “Though Mr. Babu worked as a lineman in a different area, he said it was for his organisation’s [honour] that he wanted to [help].” It was only after a group of five officials, including Mr. Babu, reached his residence to fix the problem that the architect withdrew his protest and returned home.

“I am among the many who believe in public sector though it is easy to migrate to private service provider. There are many others like me, facing the same problem. Such small problems should be rectified early.”

Architect sits in a dharna to get back his phone line and Internet connection

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