SHIMLA- While the LED screen installed near BCS Police Station displayed Rs. 16-25 per kg rate for potato, Rs. 14-17 for cabbage, and Rs. 14-24 for tomato, a vegetable/fruit vendor located just 10 meters from this LED had displayed his own rate list. Instead of official rates, he was selling potatoes at retail price of Rs. 30-35 per kg, cabbage at Rs. 30 per kg, and tomato at Rs. 30 per kg. This is the story of most of the vegetable vendors across the city.
The rates are more than twice the official rates and yet people have no choice but to yield in front of vendors because the administration is content with announcements in papers. This is what residents of New Shimla told Himachal Watcher.
The problem continues since the beginning of current year as administration had never bothered to regulate retail prices of vegetables.
But even in September month, Public of Shimla City has not received any relief at all from excess rates being charged by vegetable/ fruit vendors despite installment of LED screens to display rates decided by administration. Vendors are, without any fear, still charging more than double the prices displayed on these screens and both the Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, Rohan Chand Thakur, and Himachal Pradesh Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs are either helpless or have not bothered to go beyond installing LED display and monitor the vendors across Shimla.
In April, the DC Shimla had ordered installation of an LED display outside his office where official retail rates of vegetable and fruits were to be displayed. The display had failed to change the ground reality and vendors kept charging excess rates.
In September, four more such LED displays were installed at near BCS Police Station, Sanjuali, Kausmpti, and Chotta Shimla to keep the consumers aware and updated on daily vegetable/fruit rates. However, vendors are fearlessly charging consumers whatever they want.
These displays haven’t solved any purpose because concerned officials didn’t bother to step into field to collect feedback. Administration isn’t serious about it while making claims of working toward protection of consumer rights and prevention of open loot by vendors.
A few complaint numbers were also provided by administration for redressal of consumer grievances. In case a vendor is charging more than official rates, consumers can lodge a complaint on following numbers:
District Controller Shimla: 0177-2657022
Food Inspector Shimla (Urban): 98167-12626
Food Inspector Shimla (Rural): 94189-62971
Fastway cable subscribers in Shimla feeling cheated despite paying hefty monthly charges
Fastway is charging Rs. 600 per month despite that we don’t have any service. Today is our 6th day without cable inspite of daily complains to the provider.
SHIMLA- Subscribers of Fastway Cable service in Shimla have been constantly complaining of poor service quality and poor customer support. Now some residents wrote to Himachal Watcher complaining that they are feeling cheated as the provider is extorting arbitrary monthly charges but isn’t delivering regular cable service. The residents complained that the cable service mostly remains suspended. When they try to lodge complaint, the Channel 9 ( Fastway franchise in Shimla) customer support hardly respond to phone calls.
I was fed up with Fastway’s poor service. I realized they are charging unreasonable amount for almost nothing as the cable doesn’t work of the time. So, I switched to Tata Sky, and I suggest other subscribers to get rid of Fastway. It’s better to have your own system,
said a resident of Summer Hill.
Another resident of the same locality complained,
The Channel 9 group is cheating the residents of Summer Hill. It has hiked its charges but most of the Channels are unavailable daily. It’s very common that the cable remains out of service for more than two to three days.
All residents of Summer Hill want that some punitive action against the service provider for not delivering ensured quality of service despite hefty charges,
he further added.
Fastway is charging Rs. 600 per month despite that we don’t have any service. Today is our 6th day without cable inspite of daily complains to the provider,
said a local.
Locals from Tutikandi reported similar case.
The cable boy doesn’t appear to collect monthly charges. Meanwhile, Fastway withdraws it services for non-payment of bill. I call them and ask to send the cable boy to collect the monthly charges but he doesn’t show up. The provider has no control over the cable boys,
said a local.
The housewives are mostly dependent on cable for little recreational opportunity they get after all household tasks are done, pointed out another local. In fact, in urban world, cable TV has become a basic amenity as it now directly affects quality of their lifestyle. The cable service providers are continuously hiking monthly charges while their services are degrading day by day.
The consumers have demanded the responsible authority to take cognizance of the situation and take measures to regulate the rates as well keep the service providers responsible.
Looting own people in times of unrest, this Shimla shopkeeper is a disgrace to Dev Bhoomi
SHIMLA– The State Tourism Department and the Food and Civil Supplies Department is well aware that during peak tourist season shopkeepers, liquor stores, hoteliers, and even road-side tea-stall extract over-charges from tourists. Situations like heavy snowfall, when the transportation is hit and supplies are limited, is a jackpot for their kind. The department isn’t interested in correcting this irregularity. However, this loot isn’t limited to tourists and outsiders anymore. This (shown in the video) shopkeeper didn’t spare even the locals. Several residents of the locality reported unlawful extracted for goods and bullying on being protested. Fed-up with this goon, one of the youth tried to capture his anti-social behavior on mobile cam. This is what he came out with – a disgrace to Shimla.
While a part of entire conversation is not recorded in the small footage, enough was recorded to confirm the unlawful and anti-social act by the shopkeeper.
This shopkeeper of Chauhan General Store, located in Vikasnagar, near the Kali temple, with couple of his goon friends, was caught on camera demanding more than printed Maximum Retail Price (MRP) when the city needed his co-operation. He was making profit by exploiting the situation created by recent spell of snowfall after which over half of the city plunged into darkness and residents faced shortage of daily supplies like milk and bread.
Surprisingly, with no fear of administration, the shopkeeper not only denied selling goods to a consumer but also abused and threatened him. It is a matter of shame for not only for Food and Civil Supply Department, but also for the institution responsible for maintaining law and order. The shopkeeper and his accomplices openly challenged the consumer to approach any authority, even the court with this complaint. Such absence of fear of law is worrisome.
Compare Himachal Pradesh with other states and you’ll find it a peaceful state with co-operative and hospitable natives. The capital Shimla, a tourist destination of international fame, shared more or less same reputation until recently as urban environment started taking over society in the city. This shopkeeper is the latest and well documented proof of it.
He is not the only one of his kind; several black sheep could be spotted if the administration ever bothers to maintain regulations. It is saddening that such people do not show any respect to law and to rights and dignity of the consumers.
Himachal Watcher is forwarding the video clip to the Food and Civil Supplies Department for appropriate action.
Poor Fastway Cable Service in Shimla harassing consumers
SHIMLA-Subscribing to Fastway cable service in Shimla city has become a mental harassment for public as services offered are miserable. People prefer to buy their own DTH setup and recommend same to others to avoid bitter experience with Fastway cable operators.
Despite paying monthly charges of Rs. 200-300, most of the channels are either not available due to poor signal strength or are down most of the time. Accessories provided by cable operator are too of very poor quality. According to a pile of complaints that people shared with Himachal Watcher, Fastway’s customer care is one of the worst experience they ever came across.
The cable boys in Shimla, on the other hand, share the same attitude. To avoid consumer complaints, the boys do not collect monthly subscription charges every month. Rather, they show up only after five to six months demanding total pending payment.It disturbs monthly budget of middle class families who were comfortable with paying small sum every month. The rest of time, these cable-boys do not receive calls to intentionally ignore customer complaints.
A resident of Shimla told Himachal Watcher that the Fastway cable operator disconnects his connection arbitrarily every week. TV screen shows a message “You have not subscribed to this channel.”
“When I dialed the customer care number displayed on the TV screen, no one replied. I tried again on next day but still there was no reply, said one of the complainant,” said the complainant.
According to complainant, the cable boy or any other representative of the company did not approached him to receive monthly payment despite his complaints. At the same time, operator’s reason for disconnection is non-payment of bill.
“I told the operator to come and get his payment, but no one appeared,” he added.
“Now, tired of Fastway service, I have bought my own DTH. I will strongly suggest avoiding Fastway. Their services are getting only poorer,” he further added. Several other residents are facing similar experience.
A resident of Kasumpti complained that the remote control provided with set-top box stop working after couple of months and the operator took over three weeks to replace it.
Television has become integral part of current lifestyle as a mean of entertainment. In a city like Shimla, cable TV is a respite for victims of stressful modern, urbanized lifestyle. Entertainment and recreation have always been present in every civilization since ancient times in the form of music, dance, sports, arts etc. However, in modern spaces, recreation is limited to only TV sets and smartphones.
Considering the studies conducted by various researchers regarding the role of television in modern lifestyle, poor cable service deprives consumers of entertainment and a major mean of gaining information (media), which cast negative effect psychologically. This implies that TV is directly associated with quality of life.
Therefore, the cable operators, especially the Fastway must not take their pathetic, inadequate service lightly. Behavior of the staff is also questionable. In brief, there are substantial grounds on which the cable company can be dragged into consumer court.