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Health, personal care and education category continue to lead with the highest number of complaints received by ASCI during October 2014
The Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) under the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has banned as many as 105 advertisements out of 146 complaints it received across segments during October 2014. The banned ads are from prominent companies like Hindustan Unilever (HUL)'s Fair & Lovely, Dabur India Ltd's Shilajit Gold and Shila X Oil, Advance Hair Studio, Procter & Gamble (P&G) Hygiene and Health Care Ltd's Pantene Pro V shampoo and conditioner, Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd's Snapdeal ad, Flipkart's flat 90% off, HT Media, Tata Teleservices' Tata Docomo Photon Max Wi-Fi, Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd's Sonic Power Rangers, Rupa & Co Ltd's Macrowomen, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) Ltd's Mahindra Bolero Maxitruck Plus and P&G's Pantene Pro Vitamin Oil, they range from FMCGs to autos, personal accessories to alcohol, and education to media.
“...the CCC upheld complaints against 105 out of 146 advertisements. Out of 105 advertisements against which complaints were upheld, 44 belonged to Personal and Healthcare category, followed by the Education category with 43 advertisements,” ASCI said in a release.
Here are the ads that were banned by ASCI during October 2014…
HEALTH AND PERSONAL CARE
The CCC found the following claims in health and personal care product or service advertisements of 44 advertisers to be either misleading or false or not adequately/ scientifically substantiated and hence violating ASCI’s Code. Some of the health care products or services advertisements also contravened provisions of the Drug & Magic Remedies Act and Chapter 1.1 and III.4 of the ASCI Code.
1. Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Fair & Lovely) - The advertisement of Fair & Lovely claims that the product marketed in India gives better results than other fairness creams marketed in Dubai, Singapore and Japan stating a comparison versus “some of the world’s best products”. The Advertisement is misleading by exaggeration and implication that the advertised product is unbeatable with all the products in those countries. Also the advertisement is likely to be misleading by ambiguity as the comparison is only for instant whitening effect of the advertiser’s product.
2. Wockhardt Hospitals: The advertisement of Wockhardt Hospitals claims, "Best in Healthcare" and "Best in Bariatric Surgery". The advertisement is misleading as the Registration Certificate of the doctor shows his registration only as MBBS and not a specialist (MS). Also, the advertisement is in breach of Code of Medical Ethics as the advertisement mentions the name of Dr. Bhandari promoting the Hospital which is in violation of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics Regulations 2002 Clause 6.1.
3. Sanjivani Ayurved Ashram: The advertisement of Sanjivani Ayurved Ahsram claims to be “World's No.1 Sexologist”. The advertisement also claims to have a quote from the American Agency FDA who states that by Vacuum Therapy and the penis increaser tool along with Ayurvedic Medicines can help to increase your penis size by seven to eight inches in 15 minutes, making it four to five inches fat, hard and straight and increases your sex time up to 30 to 45 minutes. They further claim to provide a 100% Herbal Treatment with no side effects and money back policy. Also, the advertisement’s visual implies sexual pleasure which is in breach of law as it violates The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
4. Venus Remedies Ltd (Ezenus): The advertisement of Venus Remedies Ltd (Ezenus) claims that one candy has many benefits which are clinically proven. It further claims to detoxify the liver, enhance immunity and purify blood without any side effects. It also claims that by taking 3-6 candies per day for 30 days you can reduce stress by up to 60%.
5. Galaxy Lifecare Hospital: The advertisement of Galaxy Lifecare Hospital claims successful treatment of kidney stone, Cancer-Kidney, Impotence and infertility. The advertisement is in breach of the Code of Medical Ethics as the advertisement mentions the name of Dr. P. K. Keshri promoting the Clinic which is in violation of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics Regulations 2002 Clause 6.1.
6. New Golden Future Society: The advertisement of New Golden Future Society claims solution for all types of addictions like - Alcohol, Afim, Ganja, Smack, Injection, Capsule, Diluter etc.
7. Bharatbhai Anandvala Healthcare: The advertisement of Bharatbhai Anandvala Healthcare claims successful treatment of difficult skin diseases. They claim to immediately cure chronic eczema, psoriasis, black spots lines, gaj charm, acne, pimples and piles by their treatment.
8. Komal Pharmaceuticals (Komal Range of Products): The advertisement of Komal Pharmaceuticals claims that Komal Eye Drops Herbal Eye Tonic, which free from side effects, is beneficial in haziness, itching, inflammation, eyesore, blurred vision, watering of eyes, anjanhari, reddishness, etc. It helps in normalizing the close and distant view and getting rid of computer radiation and all-day pollution. They further claim about another product, Komal Alkasol Syrup which helps in removing kidney stones in the subtlest form and relieves one from pain in kidney after consumption of medicine.
9. Food Yoga Health Clinic: The advertisement of Food Yoga Health Clinic claims 100% proven results, new approach for weight loss developed by Dr.Vinay Jadhav. MBBS. MD. based on his own experience of losing 22 Kg/6months. They further claim, “First time in India a post graduate qualified Allopathic doctor will give personalized effective Treatment Online.” They claim that this method of weight loss is developed and self-tested on the doctor. The claims were not substantiated.
10. Gosparsh Products (Gosparsh Milk) – The promotion claim on the pack of Gosparsh Milk says it is the 'next best food after cow's milk for a newborn baby'.
11. The Ego Wellness Center - The advertisement of The Ego Wellness Center claims upto 30kgs of weight loss in 6 months. Also, the advertisement visual showing the before and after images of the treatment was considered to be misleading.
12. Naaz India Company (Farata Gold Range of Products) - The advertisement of Farata Gold Range of Products claims to be a treasure of a happy life which is certified by the Govt. of Punjab. The products contain a great formula of Kesar, White Musli, Shilajit, Swarna Bhasma, Trivang, Bhasma, Kaunch Beej, Satavar, Gokharu and Pure Shilajit along with 19 herbs and bhasmas which is beneficial for men – related problems.
13. Ambic Ayurved (Diabiant Sugar Care Tablet) – The advertisement of Diabiant Sugar Care Tablet claims that continuous intake of Diabiant is known to have reduced the level of insulin to nil for those patients who had been taking insulin. They also claim that even after stopping the intake it helps to keep the sugar level normal.
14. Shree Baidyanath Ayur Bhawan (Baidyanath Vita-Ex Range): The advertisement of Baidyanath Vita-Ex Range claims to give lively feeling of manly power. They further claim that Baidyanath Vita Ex Gold Plus provides vigour and vitality. The advertisement also claims that along with Vita-Ex Capsule massage of Vita-Ex Oil is beneficial in physical development, increasing blood circulation and stamina. Also, the advertisement visual implying sexual pleasure, is in breach of law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
15. Druti Hospital: The advertisement of Druti Hospital claims to provide treatment for Cancer without Chemotherapy and side effects along with treatment of infertility without any side effects with the help of pure Ayurvedic herbs. Also, the advertisement is in breach of the code of medical ethics as the advertisement mentions the name of Dr. Santosh Dubey promoting the Clinic which is in violation of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics Regulations 2002 Clause 6.1.
16. Shree Kalyan Ayurvedashram: The advertisement of Shree Kalyan Ayurvedashram claims successful treatment of difficult skin diseases like Chronic Eczema, Psoriasis, Black spots lines, gaj charm, acne pimples and piles which get cured immediately.
17. The Body Care: The advertisement of Body Care claims to offer permanent solution to weight loss in just six weeks by non-surgical stem cells therapy. The advertisement visual showing the before and after images of the treatment was also considered to be misleading.
18. Identity Fitness Club (Truweight): The advertisement of Truweight claims that food makes you fat but only food can make you slim. The advertisement further states that Truweight introduces you to super fat burning powers of super foods that have been formulated from 100% natural food after years of research, claiming that each product contains several of the 25 ingredients that aid weight reduction. The advertisement is in breach of code of medical ethics as the advertisement mentions the names of Dr. Sirisha and Dr. Deepa Sharma promoting the Clinic which is in violation of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics Regulations 2002 Clause 6.1.
19. Dabur India Limited (Dabur Range of Product): The advertisement of Dabur Range of Product claims “Do you have the energy of Shilajit Gold & Shila X Oil - Full of energy”, were not substantiated. Also, when read in conjunction with the visual in the advertisement and specific to the advertisement claim, “Shila X Oil - Full of energy”, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
20. Shakshi Wellness: The advertisement of Shakshi Wellness claims to reduce one inch from any part of the body within one hour.
21. Dr. Nigam Goodhealth Pvt Ltd: The advertisement of Dr. Nigam Goodhealth Pvt Ltd through SMS claims ‘celeb Dr.Nigam’ Ltd. Hair Transplant at an Inaugural offer of Rs. 29990 and instant scalp cover in three hours at Rs.9990, which by implication is soliciting patients and also mentions the name of “Celeb Dr. Nigam” promoting the special inaugural offer, which is in violation of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics Regulations 2002 Clause 6.1.
22. Kolors Health Care: The advertisement of Kolors Health Care suggests that the product helps to reduce the waist by upto 6 inches in just 60 minutes.
23. Diafree Treatment Centre: The advertisement of Diafree Treatment Centre claims to offer permanent relief from Diabetes. It also claims to be an herbal-based treatment which guarantees no side effects, is chemical-free and proved to be safe. They also claim that their treatment requires no diet control during the medication. They further claim that the amazing effect of Diafree not only relieves you from Diabetes in a short period but also ameliorates your whole system and relieves you from many other diseases associated with Diabetes. The advertisement also states that anybody can benefit from Diafree Treatment regardless of age and is the only medicine for Diabetes that does not need lifetime treatment.
24. Sat Kartar Shopping P. Ltd (Dr. Piles Free): The advertisement of Dr. Piles Free claims to be an ayurvedic product and is an effective medicine to cure piles. It further claims to be 100% ayurvedic with no side effects, being the only permanent solution to piles. It has been stated in the advertisement that the product is made of 25 rare herbs and has a special formula named “TOTAL CURE FORMULA” that helps heal piles quickly without any operation and its effect could be seen in a few days.
25. Gujarat Tea Processors & Packers Ltd (Wagh Bakri Green Tea): The advertisement on the pack of Wagh Bakri Green Tea claims to contain antioxidants which reduce effects of pollution and in the print advertisement, it claims to keep you worry free from many things including obesity.
26. Golden Tips Tea Co Pvt Ltd (Golden Tips Green Tea): The advertisement of Golden Tips Green Tea claims to kill bacteria that cause stomach upsets. It also claims to contain a large quantity of natural fluoride that kills tooth decay causing reduced bacteria, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and has anti blood-clotting properties. They also claim to help in preventing certain types of cancers and UVB – Induced inflammatory response. They further claim that 10 cups of Green tea in a single day restrict development of liver disorders.
27. Apeejay Surrendra Corporate Services Ltd (Typhoo Green Tea): The packaging of Typhoon Green Tea claims to help maintain the body’s natural balance, antioxidants prevent cellular decay, helps to protect the body from harmful effects of free radicals and facilitate weight loss. It further claims that antioxidants are reported to have powerful health benefits that help in reducing risks of cancer, lower the chances of heart diseases and delay the ageing process.
28. Gtee Botanical Extract Pvt Ltd (Gtee Green Tea): The advertisement on the pack of Gtee Green Tea claims to have Polyphenols present in the tea that protects the body from the damaging effects of free radicals thereby preventing many diseases and degenerative conditions. It also claims to help in glucose regulation; protect joints and boosts immunity. Further, the contents on the website of the product claim to inhibit tumor cells DNA synthesis and peroxide radical generation, stating to also help to kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. They further state to reduce blood glucose level, enhance insulin activity, improve LDL – HDL cholesterol ratio, delay ageing, prevent tooth decay and fight cavities. The website also claims that the tea helps to prevent arthritis, and protects the skin against damage on topical application.
29. Cosmic Nutracos Solutions pack (Gaia Green Tea): The pack of Gaia Green Tea claims that “Green Tea improves health and promotes longevity. As green tea has fat burning qualities, it helps regulate weight. It strengthens your body’s immune system and delays the ageing process”
30. Viron Forte: The advertisement claims that Viron Forte brings new energy, power and stamina. It helps cure all sex related problems like erectile dysfunction, mistakes in childhood and small size problems. Also, the advertisement has a visual implying sexual pleasure, whixh is in breach of the law as it violates The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
31. Love Life: The advertisement claims that Love Life is made up of complete beneficial ayurvedic herbs like, Ashwagandha, Shilajeet, Kesar, Gokhru, Safed Musli and Jayphal, and the product is capable of maintaining healthy sexual arousal in both men and women and produce effective solutions for all kind of sexual problems. Also, the advertisement visual implying sexual pleasure, is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
32. Organic India P. Ltd (Tulsi Green Tea): The advertisement claims that consuming Tulsi Green Tea helps prevent ageing, enhances stamina and Helps to combat jet lag.
33. Health Value Products (Diaya Sugar Relief): The advertisement of Diaya Sugar Relief claims to be an effective method to treat diabetes without having any side effects. It also claims that consuming this product regularly, one can easily get control over diabetes and get positive results. They further claim that the product is completely capable of maintaining the sugar level and cures diabetes in a short time period.
34. Desire Forte: The advertisement of Desire Forte states that it is a herbal health drink along with capsule that enhances sexual power in men. The advertorial also says that with regular use of the product, it can help people in increasing their stamina and improve their sex life. They claim to be an ayurvedic formula for natural sexual enhancement.
35. SkyBrand India (Diabo Kill): The advertorial of Diabo Kill claims that the product is an effective method to treat diabetes without having any side effects, which has been used on several people across the country and has cured their diabetes. The advertisement further states that the user doesn’t need to have control on his diet while using this product and is completely capable of maintaining sugar levels, curing diabetes in a short time period.
36. Vaidacharya Marketing (OZO Gold Suraksha Kavach): The advertisement claims that Ozo Gold Suraksha Kavach helps to neutralize the negative effects of electromagnetic radiation; it helps increase ones resistance power, stamina and strength. The advertisement also shows a Doctor recommending the product to protect one from the radiation from electronic products like mobile phones, computers, that give out radiation that cause diseases like brain cancer, asthma, heart problems, diabetes, blood pressure, joint pain, depression and sexual diseases etc. The company also offers a 15 day money back guarantee.
37. Kho Cha Darjeeling Tea Bureau (Kho Cha Green Tea): The packaging of Kho Cha Green Tea claims to kill deadly bacterium acne which causes acne, effectively destroy harmful intestinal bacteria, lower the rate of cancer, prevent tooth decay, effectively prevent and treat diabetes, delay ageing and act as a cleansing agent for the body. The website further claims, “low in caffeine, high in fluoride which destroys tooth decay bacteria as well as those which cause stomach upset”, “has anti blood clotting properties”, “lowers cholesterol” and “lowers blood pressure”.
38. Sunshine tea (Sunshine Tea Sticks): The packaging of Sunshine Tea Sticks claims the product is good for digestion and it helps you lose weight, fight cancer, boost your immune system, prevent diabetes, improve bone health, great for your skin and also reduces the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
39. Health Reactive (Body Revival): The advertisement of Body Revival claims to cure any kind of sickness like diabetes, blood pressure, thyroid, fever, cancer, joint pain, kidney and heart related problems.
40. Modi Omega Pharma (Jungle Formula Mosquito Repellent): The advertisement of the product claims to provide full protection against dengue when not at home also chikungunya and malaria. It further states upto 10 hours of protection.
41. Advanced Hair Studio: The advertisement of Advance Hair Studio claims to have performed procedures on more than one million people including more than 10,000 celebrities from Hollywood, Bollywood, sports etc.
42. Shathayu Ayurveda Pvt. Ltd. (Shathayu Ayurveda): The advertisement of Shathayu Ayurveda states WHO says 90% of type 2 Diabetes can be controlled or cured with simple life style modification. A simple and effective treatment of detox at Shathayu Ayurveda will enhance glucose metabolism, detoxifie the liver and improve insulin resistance.
43. Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care Ltd (Pantene Pro V shampoo & conditioner): The Pantene advertisement claims “Ultimate Split-End Protection” which was not substantiated with comparative data, and “3 month Split End Protection” which was not substantiated as the data did not represent real-life conditions of the hair treatment routine.
44. Jagat Pharma (Isotine Eye Drops): The advertisement of Isotine Eye Drops claims to give relief from any eye problems in 5 minutes without surgery. It further states this “incredible research by Dr Basu”, with the Doctor promoting the clinic which is in violation of the Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Medical Ethics Regulation, Clause 6.1.
The CCC found following claims in the advertisements by 43 different advertisers were not substantiated and thus, violated ASCI Guidelines for Advertising of Educational Institutions. Hence complaints against these advertisements were UPHELD.
1. AKS University: The advertisement claims that AKS University is the best university. The claim was not qualified with appropriate disclaimers.
2. Cloud Enabled: The advertisement states that Cloud Enabled announces cloud engineer training for freshers with 100% job guarantee on day one of training commencement.
3. SR Engineering College: The advertisement of SR Engineering College claims to be the only college in the state with women technology power.
Complaints against advertisements of all educational institutes listed below were UPHELD because of unsubstantiated claims that they ‘provide 100% placement/AND/OR they claim to be the No.1 in their respective fields’:
MIET Group of Institute (Meerut Institute of Technology), Swaraj Institute Management & Technology, HHITI Hamirpur, Institute of Banking Services – IBS, Seemanchal Group of institute, Param Bhagwat Siksha & Samajik Vikas Sansthan - National Institute of Fire Engineering & Safety Management, Shreya Education, Careerspin Consulting India Private Limited, Best Tax Filer, Vivek Bharti Trust - Noble Engineering College, Shri Venkteshwar Institute of Technology, Mangalmay Institutions, Shri Siddhivinayak Polytechnic, CLAT Possible, College of Computer & Communication, Sai Charitable Trust (College of Engineering), Andhra Mahila Sabha(College of Teacher Education), Kashi Institute of Management Science, EGS Pillay Engineering College, Guru Dronacharya College of Nursing, SDM Jainmatt Navgrahteerth Trust (Jain AGM Institute of Technology), Adarsh Institute of Indian Technology, Mahatma Gandhi Homeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Mahendra Gayatri College of Nursing, N.S Group of College, Prans Media Institute, Zala Paramedical Institute, Indraprastha Institute of Technology, ITV Network ITV School of Media & Management, Christian Medical Training Centre School & College of Nursing, CHM Institute of Hotel & Business Management, Career College of Management, Freedom Institute of Industrial Training Centre (FIITC), Doric Multimedia, Madras Institute of Business Management, Madam Mala Institute of Hotel Management, Mit Study Center, NVS College of Aviation, R&D Centre Bicycle & Sewing Machine and Ibirds Services Group (Ibirds College).
TELESHOPPING & E- COMMERCE
1. HotShop18 (Superb Figure Hot Burning Kit): The advertisement of Superb Figure Hot Burning Kit claims , “human fat can be melted” which was not substantiated and was misleading by exaggeration.
2. Telebrands India (Hot Shapers): The advertisement of Hot Shapers claims that by wearing this pant while standing, walking, jogging, resting etc. would result in more sweating and thereby more weight reduction. They also claim a reduction of 18 pounds. This advertisement was considered to be misleading.
3. Jasper Infotech P. Ltd (Snapdeal.com): In this advertisement a boy is telling the audience that my girlfriend’s sister is very cute. When we go outside she always come with us, absolutely free. Just like Snapdeal Diwali bumper sale in which a product is absolutely free with another. The TVC makes a derogatory reference to women and refers to women as a commodity.
4. Flipkart Internet Private Limited (flipkart.com): The advertisement of Flipkart.com claimed to offer Flat 90% off which was misleading as the TVC did not mention that the offer is on limited stock.
5. Ibibo Group Private Limited (goibibo.com): The advertisement of Goibibi.com claims offer of “Flat 20% off on international flights” which is misleading.
6. Indian Sky Shop (Height): The advertisement of Indian Sky Shop (Height) claims "Ab height badhana bahut hi aasan", "Chotti height wale fikar na kare" "Phone ghumaye aur height badhaye" "Fayda na milne par pura paisa vapas kiya jayega” were not substantiated and hence found misleading. Also, specific to the claims related to increase in height, the advertisement is in breach of the law as it violated The Drugs & Magic Remedies Act.
1. HT Media Ltd (Hindustan Hindi Daily): The advertisement claims that Hindustan Hindi Daily is the No. 1 newspaper of Jharkhand. The claim contravened the ASCI Guidelines on Supers.
2. AJK Network: The advertisement of AJK Network claims ‘250+ TV channels across different genres and languages including Local Channels’, ‘Electronic Programming Guide with genre-wise channel listings’ and ‘Free Customer Support’, were not substantiated.
3. Manas Hosting: The advertisement of Manas Hosting claims “Unlimited Bandwidth” which is misleading as the plan is limited to 100 GB bandwidth.
4. People’s Development Society: The advertisement claims that Smt. Palvay Prasanna Lakshmi of Peoples Development Society got an Award named India Pride Award from the Government of India, which was not substantiated with proof.
5. Odisha Television Ltd (Odisha Television Network) – The advertisement of OTV Network claims to be No.1 through a bar graph compared to other channels. It was concluded that the bar chart comparison shown in the advertisement, which appeared in Samaj, is a misrepresentation of facts and is misleading.
6. Tata Teleservices (*) Tata Docomo Photon Max Wi-Fi: The advertisement of Tata Docomo Photon Max Wi-Fi claims, “Consistent high speeds” which was not substantiated with test reports from independent third party. Also, the Advertiser did not provide substantiation of actual speed achieved in real conditions and in several locations within the cities quoted in the advertisement.
7. Viacom 18 Media P. Ltd (*) (Sonic Power Rangers): This advertisement shows teenagers in uniform climbing the walls of their education institution and doing somersaults while entering the class. As the advertisement shows dangerous acts which are likely to encourage minors to emulate them in a manner which could cause harm or injury, the complaint was upheld under Chapter III 2b) of the ASCI Code.
8. Philips Electronics India Ltd (Philips W6610): The advertisement of Philips W6610 - 12.7 cms (5) claims concerning the QHD display were not substantiated.
9. Rupa & Co Ltd (Macrowomen): The advertisement shows a woman opening the sportswear and the men / coach staring at her, which was found indecent and vulgar.
10. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (Mahindra Bolero Maxitruck Plus): The advertisement claims that a new Bolero MAXITRUCK PLUS is stronger than three “Chota Hatti”. The comparisons made in the advertisement were not substantiated, and were likely to mislead the consumers about the product advertised and ones with which it is compared.
11. Procter & Gamble Hygiene and Health Care Ltd (Pantene Pro Vitamin Oil): The advertisement of Pantene Pro Vitamin Oil claims “OIL HAI BUT OILY NAHI”, used by the advertiser was almost identical to the slogan used in the earlier run advertisement of the complainant so as to suggest plagiarism.
FOOD and BEVERAGES:
1. Bacardi India P. Ltd (Bacardi Breezer Music CDs) – The advertisement shows a Bacardi Triangle which indicates a music contest. The advertisement was considered to be a surrogate advertisement for a promotion of a liquor product – Bacardi Breezer and contravened the Guidelines for Brand Extension products or services in the ASCI Code.
Between April 2012 to October 2014, the Railways received 5,670 complaints from passengers about unhygienic conditions, cockroaches, non-functioning of lights, fans and other electrical equipment and catering services including substandard food
The public now knows that Suresh Prabhu would take serious interest in his job and do all that he can to make railways useful to all the users
Suresh Prabhu, known as a no-nonsense man, and currently the Railway Minister, who took over from DV Sadananda Gowda, got swamped in a close-door investor meet that was there last Friday.
Press reports indicate that he and his team were deluged by complaints of various kinds.
Over 60 representatives from various organizations attended the meeting. They were assured that there was a definite need to establish a "transparent frame work under which customer-investor can make investment in the railway sector" and this will be taken care in due course. It is expected that this sort of investor-meet will be held every two months.
Arunendra Kumar, Chairman of the Railway Board, while attending the meet reassured those present that the Railways would "take care of the concern of all stake holders, while implementing the public-private partnership (PPP) projects". This remains to be seen in the next few months.
Broadly speaking, the Railways cater to the needs of (a) civilian passenger traffic (b) commercial (c) industrial (d) defence services (e) emergency needs (f) maintenance repairs and related works and (g) development and expansion.
The public now knows that Suresh Prabhu would take serious interest in his job and do all that he can to make railways useful to all the users. Let's take a look at the issues that aam aadmi is concerned about. His only means of transportation is offered by the Railway system that is affordable and within his reach.
A majority of the ordinary travellers who use the railways cannot even fill in the application forms and mostly travel under the "unreserved" category. Due to inadequacy of services, these are congested and fully crowded.
For those who buy the ticket in advance, and do fill these application forms, for reserved travel, they face a different set of problems that need to be eradicated, if not minimised to the extent possible.
Instances are known and these occur regularly, because of lack of foresight that the senior citizens are given "upper berths" to sleep when overnight travel is involved. The ticketing clerk is "helpless" and he/ she will always say, rather reassuringly, that the travelling ticket examiner (TTE) or ticket checker (TC) in the train should be approached for help. Most do; and, some expect "bakshis" to be paid for this service!
Why not provide in the software system a provision whereby, for the elderly, invalid a certain seats are pre-blocked, which are near rest rooms (toilets) and closer to the doors, and which can be actually assigned by the TTE one hour before the departure of the trains?
Secondly, most of the railway compartments do not have ramps to enable wheel chair passenger to board the train. There ought to be ramp facility from the platform level to reach the coach. Also, it is imperative that the new compartments under manufacture should provide at least two or three locations in specially identified compartments where wheel-chairs can be locked in and passenger can move about?
Thirdly, in many stations, arrival and departure of trains are needlessly shifted from one platform to another followed by chaotic conditions of movements of the travelling public? This needs to be eliminated completely.
Fourthly, in many stations, there are overhead bridges that one has to take (walk up and down) to be able to board or alight from the train. This makes the porter to carry his heavy luggage. Why should this be so? Can't we modernize the system by either laying underground passages (in many stations these exist) or introduce mechanical contraptions like the drawbridge that will help one to cross from one platform to another?
This will eliminate the overhead walk on the bridge with luggage. If drawbridge is not practical in some place, the railways could think of horizontal movable bridges that can span across from one platform to another.
Fifthly, even in the so called "reserved" compartments, one can find unauthorised vendors, including those who carry vegetables in baskets (overhead) and selling their wares. Most of them are ticketless travellers and it is doubtful even if they buy a platform ticket to enter the station! Nexus between the railway employees and these vendors need not be over-emphasised
Sixthly, a lot of passengers simply occupy seats in a reserved compartment as also occupy the space at the passage areas of the entrance, which are a nuisance. This has to be stopped too.
Finally, if the authorities (mostly manned by the Police department) can set up booths to allocate cabs and auto rickshaws, on a queue system, who will thus not fleece the passengers, how about setting up a similar point of contact to get the services of porters?
One has to bargain with the porters in handling the luggage who surround the vehicles on arrival at the station and literally snatch the luggage! Similarly, mechanised vehicles for use by senior and invalids are not easily obtainable.
These are a few points that came to the writers' mind; we would welcome suggestions from the readers so that these can be brought to the attention of Suresh Prabhu for his definite action.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)