Tag Archives: manipal

Rising Cattle Theft Creating Tensions

Despite police claims of vigil, cattle rustling incidents are increasing, leading to violence at some places.

2.Activists taking out a protest march from Shri Mahalingheswara temple in Parkala near Manipal on Sunday, 5 July 2015 to condemn the rising incidents of cattle theft from the temple and surrounding areas.

2. Activists taking out a protest march from Shri Mahalingheswara temple in Parkala near Manipal on Sunday, 5 July 2015 to condemn the rising incidents of cattle theft from the temple and surrounding areas.

Communal tensions have been arising in various parts of the country following growing incidents of cattle rustling and slaughter. Several such incidents take place every week almost all over India, but most of these are reported only in local, vernacular media with the national media being surprisingly quiet.

For example, on Sunday, 5 July 2015 several shops belonging mainly to Muslims were set afire by alleged Hindutva activists at Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh Jhansi’s district.

According to report in Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar, Hindutva activists tried to enforce a protest bandh after a calf was found slaughtered apparently by a knife. Some shopkeepers refused to down shutters and the enraged activists then set them afire.

In West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district, at least seven policemen, including Dhupguri police station in-charge, were injured during a clash with locals last Wednesday.

Irate locals clashed with the police following a cattle theft in the area, The Statesman reported, quoting police sources.

1.Shops belonging to Muslims that were set afire at Mahoba in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, 5 July 2015. (Photo: Dainik Bhaskar).

1. Shops belonging to Muslims that were set afire at Mahoba in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, 5 July 2015. (Photo: Dainik Bhaskar).

During the clash, seven policemen, including the Dhupguri police station IC, Jugal Chandra Biswas, were injured while the locals set ablaze two vehicles. To control the situation, police fired ten rounds in the area to disburse them.

Later the locals, alleging inaction on the part of police following frequent cattle theft cases, blocked National Highway 31 for three hours.

After a spurt in cases of cattle theft, especially buffaloes, police in Uttar Pradesh’s Kaushambi have directed cattle owners to submit details of the cattle like height, shape and length of horn, type of teeth and special mark if any, along with owner’s name, address and phone number with local police stations for the purpose of record, The Times of India reported last week.

Protests like these by predominantly pro-cow social and Hindutva organizations are also becoming commonplace at several places in Mangalore and Udupi districts of coastal Karnataka and northern Kerala.

On Sunday, 5 July, 2015, scores of people held a rally at Gandhi Maidan in Parkala near Manipal after a series of cattle thefts from the local over 1000-year-old Mahalingeshwara temple.

Police in the coastal districts have cracked down on rustlers and have seized several vehicles over the years, some with the aid of Hindutva activists.

Yet, people are convinced that police and politicians are hand-in-glove with the rustlers as cattle theft is a big, booming business.

The latest cattle theft took place from inside an ancient temple’s premises that was caught on security cameras. A first information report (FIR) was filed at the nearby Manipal Police Station against “unidentified persons”. Though the theft at the 1000-year-old Shri Mahalingeshwara temple took place more than two-three weeks ago, no headway has been made in the case.

Mr Srinivas Upadhya, the temple’s managing trustee and a popular local social worker, told this writer that scores of cows have been donated to the temple by devotees, yet over the years many instances of theft have taken place.

The security cameras were put in place upon the advice of police a little over four months ago. Yet, despite the incident being caught on camera, “nothing has been done by the police”, Mr Upadhya said.

On Sunday, 5 July 2015, scores of pro-cow activists took out a protest rally from the temple to the nearby Gandhi Maidan. Though the rally was supposed to go to Manipal Police Station to submit a memorandum to the Udupi district police chief, it culminated in a public meeting.

3.Mr Srinivas Upadhya addressing the anti-cow theft protestors protestors at Gandhi Maidan in Parkala near Manipal on Sunday, 5 July 2015.

3. Mr Srinivas Upadhya addressing the anti-cow theft protestors protestors at Gandhi Maidan in Parkala near Manipal on Sunday, 5 July 2015.

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Who Cares For #Rurban Consumers?

While BSNL landline internet service in rural areas is the pits, private ISPs like TataDoCoMo and Airtel are not bothered.

telco logosThis writer has been a Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) landline and broadband internet customer for over 10 years now. For the last few years, I have been staying in a village called Parkala, which is a hop, skip and jump away from the educational, medical and financial hub of Manipal, close to the temple town of Udupi in coastal Karnataka.

As a typical internet addict—and with no TV connection (cable or otherwise) whatsoever—most of my waking hours are spent browsing the net. This is also my main link with most of the world and my friends and extended families. I read major newspapers and online news portals, some on a daily basis and others occasionally whenever a link from Facebook or Twitter lead to the stories; my online viewing was mainly the ghastly Arnab Goswami till a few months back when he became unbearable for my family who, in turn, threatened me with dire consequences if peace in the house was disturbed!

And all this throughout bearing the pathetic service from BSNL, the government’s communications provider.

My trouble with BSNL were of ancient origin, almost every since I took the monopoly service. I had a long litany of complaints, mostly relating to the internet connection and the occasional landline disruption. I have also seen the pathetic state of BSNL exchanges where, I am told, cannibalisation of equipment was a frequent occurrence. If there was a problem in one exchange and the complaints became intolerable, the ‘card’ from the exchange was exchanged with a functional one from another exchange.

Many times, the copper wires were the culprits, the weather being blamed often by the linemen who had to face the brunt of subscribers’ ire. In my locality, overloaded trucks used to frequently bring down the phone wires.

Of course, many times it was the “Chinese-made” ‘card’ problem in the exchange itself, but no one was willing to accept it officially. Many times, the relations between the linemen and the district sub-divisional officers (telecom) or SDOTs to whom I had to reach out in exasperation were strained. One young SDOT told me: “We cannot force the linemen to respond immediately; because they will immediately complain against us for caste discrimination”. It is another matter that the linemen used to frequently grumble that the SDOTs used to put pressure on them unnecessarily. You see, there was this claim of perennial shortage of staff.

If it was the shortage of staff on one side, it was also the availability of spare ‘cards’, cables and other equipment. If a lineman told the SDOT that the cable needed to be replaced, then it would be caught in paperwork and bureaucratic tangles.

And, sometimes they used to blame the modem also! Once I took it to the deputy general manager’s office for testing; the person there never saw this modem brand and said it was not functional. The dealer from whom I had purchased it tested it and said it was OK. Mysteriously the next day, the internet connection was back to normal.

At another time, I took the modem to the exchange and they said it was perfectly fine and blamed the Chinese ‘card’.

The new SDOT came once to my house and promised to come again and do a comprehensive check: He did not. This was about two-three months ago.

Now, to cut the story short, my BSNL broadband internet connection is on, more as an exception than as a rule!

Thus, I started looking for an alternative service provider. I looked at Google Guru and shortlisted two: Airtel and Tata DoCoMo, who have a presence in the area.

I contacted Airtel first through the call centre number given on their website. After all the sweet talk, right from their offices in Delhi to their branch office in Manipal, I was given an answer: Sorry, there is no connection available in your area.

Mind you, my house is just 3 kms away!

I also happened to speak to an Airtel executive who told me that the local manager was not interested in expanding the services and they lost many consumers.

A couple of months ago, I saw Tata DoCoMo’s service at a local 3-star hotel, where, thanks to the owner, I was given access to the internet in the manager’s office. The speeds were good—when compared to BSNL’s service—and I was impressed.

(But not as great as the service I had in Hyderabad in 2011-12, where I used to pay just about Rs 1,000 per month for a 10 MbPS connection, and that too, with the rare breakdowns).

So I looked up Tata DoCoMo’s website and called them up. After a three-four phone calls, I was told that they only provide service in apartment buildings where at least 80% residents agree to subscribe.

Besides, they averred, I live in an area where there don’t have any lines!

Today (5 June 2015), I put out a series of tweets regarding my grouse with BSNL (they did not respond) and how villages and small towns (#Rurban) are way out of range of the radars of these big companies (and not only telecom service providers, but by almost all major FMCG companies), who treat us villagers as guinea pigs and dump third-rate goods and services on us.

Responses from the telco giants on Twitter were immediate, followed by phone calls. Yet, I also bet my favourite Mysorepak (a very popular sweet) that I will not get a connection from either Airtel or Tata DoCoMo very soon. And, lo and behold, at the end of the day, I ended up in saving a few rupees!

“We don’t have a service there” was the common thread among the two.

Meanwhile, I plan to visit the BSNL Telephone Adalat which will be held next week, but am keeping my fingers crossed.

Footnote: Dear Mr Narendra Modi, if you happen to read this piece, let me say this: I doubt if your idea of a “Digital India” will ever take off, not at least during your stewardship of this nation as the Pradhan Sewak with such disdain for consumers.

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