Monday, December 27, 2010
Power v/s power! (Might against Right)
On 24th Dec, 2010 afternoon, there was a gush of excess voltage in certain parts of Mira Road by our very own- Reliance Power. This resulted in spoilage of electronic and electrical equipments in many houses in our building. We, have never experienced such a thing in our entire lives. As my Mom was using the mixer to grind masala, the device went 'boom' and caught fire inside the jar! Simultaneously, the television set went 'dhooom'!!! One fan in the house, stopped and started moving backwards. Its motor's gone bad and doesn't provide cool breeze any more!!! While we were lucky to get our TV and mixer repaired and set right and had to do with coarsely ground gravy for the day, some of the people in our building lost their more expensive electronic items. The computer in one household got damaged! We were thankfully not using ours that very moment! Only one side of our building was affected by this generosity of Reliance! We unexpectedly have to incur the cost of buying a new fan and a mixer-grinder.
I wonder -what if my 9 month old nephew would've got hurt and my Mom would've got an electric shock!? In any country valuing human lives, one could have sued the company and claimed their compensation for loss incurred and emotional stress. But in India, we've learnt to bear, crib and forget. The mentality that 'common man is born to suffer' is instilled into us through writers, cartoonists and our very own personal experiences of unfair justice between classes and masses. Recently a man, who hurt himself when a fire-extinguisher fell on him while travelling by an Indian Airlines plane, got only Rs 1500/- as compensation (that too after more than a year), while he had claimed a larger amount! He might have incurred higher expenses to fight the case!
When Indian Airlines got away, Reliance is still bigger fry. Only an Ambani can use excess electric power (that too at BEST rates) in their new home, while the government and NGOs keep urging the common man to 'save energy'. In contradiction, we also have big malls and shopping centres illuminated and consuming extra-electricity all over the country. It seems like the entire responsibility of the nation alongwith high-prices is on the shoulders of the common man. Here, you find the poor and middle-class paying more than their capacity on electricity bills, foodgrains, fuel and taxes, while the higher your income, you enjoy many privileges and fringe benefits. A rich entity (individual or group) enjoys rebates in commission and lower interest rates everywhere and even manages to escape heavy tax burden, thus using less of his/ their earnings! And a common man has to account for every penny he earns and is expected to spend beyond his earning capacity!!!
Coming back to the 'power' story, people living beyond the BEST electricity supply limits in Mumbai are subject to enormous bills. Sometimes, no proper justification of variation in bills across months is provided. And Reliance itself buys electricity from Tata Power and supplies to us at higher rates. Why can't Tata Power supply us electricity directly at cheaper rates? Recently there was a survey carried out by Tata and many people were for it. People will welcome the change. Only competition can keep companies on their heels and urge them to provide the best of services with lesser consumer complaints!
We, the common men and women of the country (who form a large number of consumers), need proper redressal forums to address our complaints and needs!
After posting this article - Next day I came to know Tata Power had distributed forms in certain parts of Mumbai for those who'd wish to purchase electricity directly from them!