BSNL Review – A story of ultimate bureaucracy
It was almost 2 months before, I decided to reallocate my house in Bangalore city (so called Silicon Valley/Information city of India). I was using Phone as well as Broadband services of BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.) for last couple of years. So, I have lodged the transfer request to BSNL office one day before shifting my house. This office was much known to me because I used to lodge the complaints very often. It has as usual bureaucratic office environment, irresponsible staffs, undefined and old working processes. I have given the transfer application with all details at one corner of the office. BSNL offices has no concept of reception, they have one staff who handles the customer at first level. So, how many days you will take to transferred my phone as well as broadband? It will not take more than 2 to 3 days, I got a prompt reply with catchy smile. That’s good because I was not accepting such prompt reply. I was hoping for minimum 15 days. I thought, there would be some improvement in work culture because BSNL is no-1 Telecom Company in India, so it may possible.
People use BSNL services because of three reasons:
- It’s a government organisation so there will be some sort of security – what we thought!
- It has wide coverage and most of the other telecom companies are using BSNL lines.
- If you do not have any identity proof like passport, voter ID, Driving license, PAN Card then you can show BSNL papers/billsand it will be accepted everywhere without any hesitation. That’s what our Indian social structure.
It was third day of my request and I didn’t receive any information or status about my request, so just went the BSNL office for formal inquiry. What happened to my request? I have sent your request for the processing please contact to Madam X inside that cabin. Thank god! I was able to meet Madam X. Let me check. Your phone has been already disconnect and sent the paper to your nearby BSNL office. They will contact you, so please wait for a day or two. That’s fine! I can wait patiently.
It was second week of my request and I was absolutely clueless about the current status. I decided to find out the status at my level because I was in hurry and my work was getting affected very much because of broadband. Just started my investigation, there were two BSNL offices nearby my house. What to do and where to go now? Which office covers my area, I was swimming in the sea of dilemma. I decided to go one of the offices and came to know that my area was not covered by this office so i have to go other office. I was remembering Mussadi Lal from famous Indian TV serial “Office Office”. I went to other BSNL office, fortunately there was an inquiry counter, and I have inquired about my request status but didn’t get the proper response. He has referred me to third floor of the office to meet with Mr. X… Office Lift was not working so I took stairs and reached to Mr. X’s work place. I had a manually written receipt of my request, I showed him. He has thrown a sharp view on my receipt and successfully referred me to account section in the ground floor. I was on ground. It was just better then a fish market, because there was no smell of rotten fishes. It had unmanaged office environment, people were shouting, bunch of dirty files on most of the tables, multiple employees were sitting at the same place and doing the same work. I got the perfect example of hidden employment. I just asked to one of the staff and showed my only one proof of my request. He told “we have not received the file yet so please come after two days”. My office was around 20 KM far from my new house so it was really difficult for me to go BSNL offices and follow up every day. So left the situation as it is for a week, hoping that it will be resolved in few days, but haven’t received any status in between these days.
It was fourth week of my follow up! We have upgraded our system and we lost the previous data so you have to contact your previous exchange office because we haven’t received any request from them. I was really surprised with this response, it’s not at all possible. I am a software professional and I know it very well. Anyways, I was trying to call the no, which was given by previous BSNL office. As usual nobody was picking the call. It was bit annoying moment for me. I have ridden 20 KMs in hot midday and reached the BSNL office. I have entered into AGM’s cabin and explained my scenario to her. She has searched the record and told me that we have already disconnected your line and transferred, now it’s showing inactive status. So Madam, where you have transferred, in which office you have transferred? We have transferred! That was the full and final reply which I have received. Can you please talk to my nearest office and give all the details- I was murmuring at that moment. No, I don’t have their contact detail and they are in different office, so it’s difficult to contact. Please go and inquire in that office. What an organisation, I was just wondered with her response. She must be not aware of the responsible person or it was not clear to her about the transferred office, what I thought.
I left the office and tried to find out the answers of few questions like
- They are in the same organisation but there is no intra office communication.
- How I would know about my actual BSNL office?
- How to come out from this situation? I was in hurry to get the broadband connection and there was no Airtel connection.
Again I was in the same BSNL office, on third floor, directly reached to GM’s cabin and told my heart breaking situation. He listened quietly and forwarded me to area supervisor on first floor. “I don’t have the work order so I can’t tell you anything, please contact to account section and get the work order”.
What is work order, why I should follow up at this level? They don’t have any responsibility or they really don’t care about their customers? Now, I gave up and came back.
It was sixth week of my request, till now I haven’t got any call or status intimation from BSNL. Let’s enquire again so, Reached to same office with no hope. I was talking to area supervisor with lots of anger on my face, but got the same response, I don’t have work order so I cannot do anything. There was a lineman who was listening our conversation, because I was almost shouting in the office. He called me and told that this is not the exact office for your area. There is a small office nearby your apartment, you need to contact there and he has given the office address. It was the telecom executive engineer’s office and it was the part of previous office, from where it was rejected because my area was not in the coverage of that office. “We don’t have such kind of request and work order so contact to head office, we cannot do anything in this”. Could you please contact to the head office and find out the reason for this delay- it was my small question to Mr. EE. Again I realised about my irrelevant question. Nothing to surprise in this!!!
It was seventh week, situation was stand still, no response, no progress at all, as usual nobody was picking the phone. Again I was in the EE office and discussing with one lineman. As one of my friend told me that I do face the problems but I have given some money to lineman and my issues gets resolved easily, I do not give any complaint to BSNL office, I used to complaint directly to lineman. Lineman has recommended me a different office, which was some sort of customer’s service office. That’s good, I reached to new destination, narrated my problem in one sort in front of one Madam, she has forwarded successfully to another madam like a football. She told me to contact head office. Again there was a long discussion on the status of my request. Why they were not able to track my request, they do not have centralised system or any tacking mechanism? After a long conversation she was ready to FAX my new application to head office.
It was eighth week of my request, I got a first call from BSNL office about my transfer request, now I was surprised. We will install the devices in a day or two. After three day I got another call from lineman to install the telephone devices, I told him to come before 10’o clock because of my office hour. 10.30 to 5.00’o clock is our office timing and you cannot find anybody in the office beyond this time, replied by lineman. Now it was very much clear to me about the working principal of a government organisation. Somehow, I was able mange for Saturday and got installed but phone and broadband was still inactive. It will get activated in two working days as per lineman.
It was ninth week, still I was waiting to listen dial tone from my phone. After three days, again I reached to nearby BSNL office then I came to know about fault wiring in my apartment, need to contact an electrician and get corrected. I was just holding my head because it was about to blast in all ways. I have corrected the connection myself, there was no fault connection at all. Thank god now phone was working but broadband was still inactive and it will another 2-3 working days to get activated. Huhhh, After 3 days again I reached to BSNL office to know the progress. He has verified something and told me that there is no open port for your broadband we are going to raise the request now so it will be active by tomorrow end of day. I have to follow at low level, so there was no other choice for me.
At last, at the end of ninth week my phone as well as broadband got activated. That is how government machinery works in India and all about BSNL.