Ludicrous ‘Tamasha’ at Sanchar Haat

Mr JR Lal is a proactive member of Citizens Alliance. His experience with MTNL indicates the state of affairs in any govt department.

Citizens must stand up for their rights. 


Dear Sir,

 Email appended below would apprise you with another story on the working style of govt. agencies. This time it is MTNL. 

Within hours of sending email, I  received a telephone call at 10.30 AM (same day) from Gulabi Bagh Sanchar Haat asking me to collect the free Trump connection (with lifetime validity and having initial talk value Rs. 50/- only).

Then I visited the place and got the free connection without even submitting the original copy of the paid telephone bill which was earlier demanded.

  If you find merit in the episode worth posting on blog site, please edit the contents of the attachment and post I wonder why so often I face such problems! Sometime I feel fed up.

  Thanks & regards,

 J. R. LAL

From: J. R. Lal To: R. P. S. SINHA (CMD) ; Prem Singh (AM Idgah Exch) ; M. P. Singhal (GM Mob. Ser.) ; A. P. Handa (GM Accounts) ; A. K. Srivastava (GM East) ; A. K. ARORA (Exec. Director)
 Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007 8:13 AM


Date : 08.11.2007 

Dear Sirs, 

I came across to an advertisement issued by MTNL, Delhi which was published in The Hindustan Times of 05.11.2007. The advertisement reads – “Just visit your nearest Sanchar Haat, show your ID proof alongwith any one MTNL Landline paid bill of Rs. 500/- or above for the last 3 months and get Trump Jeevan Saathi Card absolutely free with life time validity.”

 2.    I am a landline phone customer and opted for TriB Phone Plan for tariff for using broad band internet service of MTNL. Under the plan, monthly bill, which I regularly pay, comes around Rs. 700/-. 3.    Prompted by the above said advertisement I visited Sanchar Haat, DDA Market Gulabi Bagh, Delhi on 05.11.2007 at 01.45 PM. There I filled up the prescribed agreement form, completed requirements as told to me there and then presented to Mr. K. P. Singh, Section Supervisor.

 Ludicrous ‘Tamasha‘ at Sanchar Haat 

4.    After presenting the documents to Mr. K. P. Singh ‘tamasha‘ started which continued for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

             It started when I was asked to attach original paid copy of the telephone bill. In my view, it was a very peculiar demand as I believe, a receipt, issued in any form by a government department (including PSU) against a payment having been received cannot – as a principal – be demanded back from the payer. I also believe that no authority lower than government of India is competent to change that principal. However, having no option against the unlawful demand, original copy of a paid bill was attached. 

           Then another point was raised. Mr. K. P. Singh told me that I cannot be issued the connection as the charges in the monthly bill for usage of telephone alone fall short of Rs. 500/-. To this I told you that there is no such stipulation in the said advertisement and also that I believe, the advertisement as published can neither be ambiguous nor misleading. And, had there been any mention in the said advertisement that only telephone usage charges would be taken into account in case of bills for combined usage of telephone and internet services, I would not have visited the Sanchar Haat for the free Trump connection.

             Mr. Singh then advised me to go to Idgah Exchange for the purpose to which I refused on the plea that advertisement has asked to visit Sanchar Haat and not the Telephone Exchange and I am complying with accordingly. 

             Then Mr. Singh asked me to talk to his superior officers over the telephone. I refused to do so believing that the customer is not supposed to be under such an obligation and it is for the service provider to depute or deploy such persons on such jobs who are well conversant with the latest schemes etc. and may convince the customers to their satisfaction. 

            Thereafter, Mr. Singh and another lone lady staffer there rang up many superior officers. To my surprise, none of them gave a firm direction whether to issue free Trump connection or not. Uncertainty continued to prevail keeping me at bay. After a while, some officer on the other side of the phone line told the lady staffer to issue the connection and she in turn passed on the message to Mr. Singh. Mr. Singh was still sceptic and continued with the telephone to contact the higher officers. At last, some one on the line advised Mr. Singh to get the matter clarified from MTNL’s helpline no. 1503. The lady who attended the call in between 03.05 and 03.15 PM told Mr. Singh to take into account telephone usage charges only for issue of free Trump connection. After that Mr. Singh rejected my case. 

            On reaching my residence, I also rang up helpline 1503 around 03.45 PM and the male staffer who attended to my call at position no. 25, told me that for getting the clarification on the issue, I have to wait for 2 days. 

           It also came to my notice that upto 02.45 PM, Gulabi Bagh Sanchar Haat was not authorised to issue free Trump connection under the said scheme and at the same time 02.45 PM the concerned staff was also instructed to issue such free connections to the eligible customers of their area only. 

 Expectations of the customers – 

 5.    In the interest of customers and save them from harassment at the hands of uninformed or little informed staff deputed for public dealing, suitable measurements like the ones stated below are utmost necessary for improvement in the service delivery system :- 

*  In future text of the MTNL’s advertisements should be drafted in unambiguous manner which may not mislead either the customer or the MTNL’s dealing staff as is evident in the present case.

 *   Terms and conditions must be clearly specified. *   There must be proper planning and preparation before announcement of a scheme. 

 *   There must not be any communication gap and the scheme on launch must be clear upto grassroots level well in time. 

*   Concerned officers and staff should also keep themselves updated on the schemes. 

 *   Public dealing staff must be properly trained. *   Service must be provided in accordance with specified standards of service delivery devoid of harassment and inconvenience to the customers.

 *   Demand should not be made for submission of original receipted copy of the bill as the same is believed to ultra vire the basic financial laws (the GM (Accounts) may kindly look into it and issue suitable instructions to all concerned).

 Request In view of the above I request you to please look into the matter and get me issued free Trump connection under the scheme. In case I am not considered eligible for the same kindly inform me suitably. Looking forward for a favorable reply.

 Wish you Happy Diwali 

Yours faithfully, 


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