Kashmir is the land of uncertainties and in this environment everyone wants to be in constant contact with their near and dear ones. Everyone wants to be able to know well-being of their loved one’s instantaneously, soon after an untoward incident has been reported.
It used to be heart wrenching task to see off your loved one’s in the morning ( while leaving for work or any other thing) not knowing whether they will return home safely, whether they will return at all but thanks to mobiles the element of uncertainty has been reduced if not completely negated.
When mobile service was given a go ahead in Kashmir people went wild to get a mobile connection, stood in queues for hours at stretch. But with BSNL having complete monopoly over the sector soon the quality of the service started to slide down. Then came Airtel, with its promise of better service and again we saw sea of people standing in queues waiting for their turn to lay their hands on the Airtel sim. The sim agents soon began to behave like gods, with people pleading to them for sims made them more arrogant. The hype was followed by a dip in their services
After Artel, Aircel entered the market and they tried to cash in the dissatisfaction of the customers with its slogan of ‘Vadaa Rahaa’, promising better service and customer care. All these promises seem to fall flat.
Almost a year ago I returned to Kashmir and urgently needed a sim card, when I approached a retailer who sold sim cards of different companies and told him that I urgently needed a sim card, he suggested to me that I should get Aircel as it is the only sim that will be activated in couple of days while others take almost a week. So acting on his suggestion I got the Aircel sim.
In the last one year I many times wanted to just disconnect the number and switch to other service provider but the thought of effort that has to be put in to notifying people about the number change and those who I can’t , I had to change my plan. Then came the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and my hopes were high about changing the service provider. I applied for MNP and keenly followed the process. All the service providers say that after applying for MNP the service provider will change within a week but even after a two weeks passed and there was no change in my service provider, I contacted the service provider to whom I intended to shift and asked why still there was no change in my service provider, they replied that Aircel was not releasing my number. After pursuing the matter for couple of more days I gave up seeing no hope of my service provider being changed.
You must be wondering what in the first place led me to think about changing the service provider. Well what I faced is faced by many people in the valley; the arbitrary deductions from my prepaid account forced me to look for a change in service provider. Every time I recharged my prepaid account it was followed by an arbitrary deduction. When I contacted the customer care (CC), who are in the first place were very hard to reach, they said that I had subscribed to one or other value added service of which I had no idea how and when I had subscribed. At times I didn’t have time to call the CC so sent mails to them but they never used to reply in the promised one working day. Even after conveying to them I hadn’t subscribed to any service they wouldn’t agree to refund the undue deductions. After some time I altogether stopped recharging my phone with more than rupees 10 and this led to occasions when I had to request strangers to give me their phones to make an important call.
I tried to get rid of these problems on an individual level; I applied for converting my number into a post-paid. I thought that with the conversion all my problems will vanish but with the conversion I new set problems came forth. First the conversion took a lot more time then was promised and then I was not having access to GPRS at all. The CC at first denied accepting the existence of the problem and then when I threatened taking them to court did they rectify the problem.
Initially I used to think that only Aircel customers face these kinds of problems but with time I met customers from other service providers who were facing the same problems. This discovery helped in reducing my pain little bit but at the same time it gave rise certain questions like, if this is so common a problem why isn’t any one raising his/her voice? Why isn’t Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI) taking any action against the service providers, which are cheating their customers? How big is this scam?
Also Appeared in The Kashmir Monitor
This is a guest post by Altaf Hussain
Oct 2nd 2012 the day which, will haunt me throughout my life. I was having dinner when my friend Naseer rang up. He started with a normal chat inquiring about my well being and other things, I interrupted and asked him about the background noise that I heard. He in a very casual manner said that he was in SMHS hospital, Srinagar. Though not worried I laughed, because last time we had taken Naseer to Lal-Ded maternity hospital, Srinagar, for first aid when he complained of abdominal pain at midnight. Then We were staying at Srinagar preparing for civil services exam. This time it was also the case of abdominal pain but the patient was Naseer’s brother. He told me that his brother, Abid, is continuously vomiting with fast breathing and heart rate and that Doctors have put him on Glucose drip. Though not a medical expert t tried to assure him everything will be fine, also he seemed to be confident of the same. It was 11pm by then. we ended our chat and I retired to bed.
On 3rd October early in the morning Naseer called me again and asked me if I had any acquaintance in the hospital. One of my childhood friends is a Doctor in the same hospital. I tried to reach him but his mobile was switched off. I could make from his choked voice that something was wrong and tried to assure him that he is in valley’s premier hospital and
there is nothing to worry about, but he didn’t seemed to be assured and in a broken voice said that his brother’s condition is very critical and he has just collapsed.
For few moments, I was in a real shock. I began asking myself how is it possible that a patient was simple abdominal pain has slipped into a critical condition. I tried to convince myself that everything will be fine and my friend is unnecessarily worrying and Doctors were also assuring the same. After few hours there was no appreciable improvement in the patient’s condition and was to be put on ventilator. At this moment we all resigned to His mercy and prayed to God to make things easier for the young fellow. His father was also there, but couldn’t bear all this. Effortlessly tears rolled down from his eyes. And why not, after all Abid was his youngest and dearest son. They were just like friends with each other. After a cardiac surgery for ASD closure six years back, Abid was living a normal life and busy in his studies. By around 10am when the Senior Doctors arrived they were visibly furious over the junior Doctors who were till now treating the patient. Their discussion raised many questions in our mind but being novice in medical terminologies, we couldn’t say anything. At the same time we felt convinced that our patient will get proper attention.
As the reports of blood tests arrived, it turned out that the patient a BCA third year student was suffering from septicaemia (a condition of bacterial infection) as they told us. Also the Doctors concluded that Abid’s condition is getting very critical as vital organs are showing a dismal functionality. In the mean time Abid was shifted to the intensive care unit. Doctors were closely monitoring the situation and updating us accordingly. It seemed that Doctors were working very hard to save the patient, as was evident from their frequent visits. They also told us that if there is an increase in the patient’s blood pressure they might be able to do haemodialysis which will eventually reduce the bacterial load of the patient’s blood and help him to cope with the infection. In this hope that Abid’s blood pressure returns to normal we all prayed.
By evening Doctors told us there is multiple organ failure in the patient’s body and the impending doom was visible in our eyes. By the same time, a senior cardiologist visited our patient and felt angry. He was blunt in saying that Doctors have mismanaged the case. why was the patient diagnosed of septicaemia after 12hrs of hospitalisation? He fumed
with himself. Why was the patient not put on antibiotics even if he had clinical symptoms of septicaemia with fast breathing and heart rate? And continuous vomiting. We had no answers to his apprehensions since none of us had studied medical sciences At around 12:30am Abid’s blood pressure suddenly shot up only to fall down quickly to zero. He passed away peacefully. No one of us except his uncle knew it and he didn’t told this to anybody fearing that it may create chaos. In the early morning when Abid’s uncle told this to one of the junior Doctors he sweated profusely. Abid’s dead body was moved quietly to his native place and there was mourning and grief all around. People of this remote hamlet in Tral were shell shocked that a young man barely 20 years old is now no more among them. Every one raised the principle of faith and quoting Quran which says Every soul shall have a taste of death and so on. But for Naseer and his family they were in a different world questioning Abid’s early departure. His mother wailed and intermittently sang folk songs usually reserved for grooms and tears streamed from her eyes. It was all unbearable.
When I think back, my mind gets entangled into myriad questions. I have firm belief that Abid’s end was destined this way. But does that mean we do nothing when somebody is ill. No, we ordinary humans have no divine knowledge, so are we asked to live this mortal life using our mental abilities and rest leave everything to His judgement. Honestly, I have no Idea there was medical negligence but several things reinforce my apprehensions. Firstly, one thing is unambiguous. No senior doctor attended Abid when he was hospitalised, but why? Where are those consultants who should reside within the hospital premises, should an emergency happen. Neither the junior doctors called their senior nor was there present any. Junior doctors in this hospital have more craze than accomplished ones Only God knows why. Secondly, on the night of hospitalisation of our patient, the lab assistant initially refused to process the blood samples by saying that they can run the machine only when sufficient samples are collected. How ridiculous. It simply means the lab assistant has a scant regard of a precious life. Thirdly, senior doctors told us that junior doctors mishandled the case. What an explanation. It simply means our patient was left to the mercy of “medical illiterates”. Ultimately, in passing the buck a valuable life was lost.
Doctors in this very hospital often complain of misbehaviour by the attendants, which is true in many cases. It is also true that a patient is accompanied by posse’ of attendants which becomes an impediment while doctors are discharging their professional duties. In our case, we maintained our decency .Only two attendants were with the patient and we
cooperated with the Doctors in the best possible manner. Even when senior doctors point to medical negligence we have no. intention to seek answers from the medicos. But then the doctor community should introspect a little. Why do senior doctors rush to their private clinics before duty hours. If you are visiting this hospital in night senior doctors are almost invisible.
There is no doubt that SMHS has some of the intelligent specialists yet negligences do happen because of their absence. In the past doctors were held in high esteem in the society but the same society is scared of them.
There are hundreds of patients, which I believe suffer due to one or another medical negligence. Across the state run hospitals, the condition is pathetic. Why do doctors disappear before their duty hours and why doesn’t the government ban private practise of doctors especially during their duty hours. Doctors are prescribing huge amounts medicine just because they have to collect a cheque from a pharma company.
(Author is a civil service aspirant and can be reached at:@altaf_jh
Since the onset of this year, many startling revelations have come to fore and with each newspaper headline it seemed that the end of the government was near. But here we stand with just two months left in this year and we can’t recall the first headline that threatened the government.
It is October and last couple of days before the government shifts to winter capital, Jammu, and we are grappling with LPG crises. No one is bothered to recall which the big story before this was and raise a question as to why it has been left mid way, without taking it to the logical conclusion that everyone earlier was so confident of reaching.
Does it sound strange that the issues like Amarnath, Unidentified graves, Healthcare mess, Dog menace, Power woes, Traffic mess etc have been shoved into oblivion!
Whatever the case is we will have to accept that the state government has mastered the art of diversion. It is playing everyone; public, media and none seem to realize it.
For 2008 mass uprising, handing over of forest land to SASB (Shri Amarnath Shrine Board) had acted as a trigger. Well if the latest newspaper revelations are believed to be true, then the SASB has already started constructing concrete structures on the forest land! Now the question rises that what did we, as a people protest against?
The discovery of unidentified graves (Mass graves) seemed to sound doom for the state government and caused a lot of embarrassment to the govt. of India in the international arena. People had hoped against hope that finally the international community will force India to hold an impartial probe. Now it seems that every one has forgot the existence of these graves!
The GB Pant hospital mess, Infant deaths, had caused a lot of uproar, people had come on roads to protest. And then, the game of accusations and cross accusations had begun. Union health minister was forced to pay a visit to the forsaken hospital. Even couple of heads had rolled, but after sometime everyone forgot about the absconding army doctor who happened to be the deputy MS at the said hospital, does anyone know what action was taken against him?
People had asked for reformation of hospital management system in all the state hospitals. Everyday somebody or the other was suggesting the government about how to manage hospitals. Then everyone forgot about the reforms! We were reminded of the infant death only couple of days back when the House committee report was tabled in the state assembly.
Dog menace once upon a time happened to decorate the newspapers as headlines. It attracted attention of people from New Delhi to New York. A sitting MLA even tried to highlight the issue by releasing a truckload of dogs near the civil secretariat but now it seems that as if the problem never existed, even when the government is far from solving it!
The power supply in the summer of the current year has been far from satisfactory; this led some people to compare the performance of the current government with that of the PDP led government. People on social media demanded the removal of the Omar government and installations of Mufti government. People were angry with government, and the comment of
the CM that people should pay market rates fanned the fire and then the son of a minister was caught stealing electricity worth lakhs. But now no one seems to be bothered by the erratic electric supply.
Traffic mess is getting uglier by the day and the government seems to be at loss of wits of how to manage it. They are not making any radical changes in the policy and nor are they trying to improve the traffic police department drastically by providing necessary instruments. Only by installing traffic lights the government can’t assume the disappearance of this problem. Government needs to make a long term policy with respect to traffic management and road connectivity.
J&K government is competent enough to divert anything but the traffic.
It seems to be a strange coincidence that every time government finds itself in the dock, a new controversy comes to its rescue by diverting the attention from the previous. Sometimes the controversies are god sent but at times they have to be created.
With winter approaching and time for the state government to fly to warmer grounds, LPG Cap crises seems to be god sent. Thus the government can avoid answering other uncomfortable questions and try to solve this problem just before its flight.
It is said that for a war to be won not only does a government / state need superior firepower but also a superior propaganda machine. Here in Kashmir everyday is a war and propaganda has to be aided by diversion.
Also appeared in The Kashmir Monitor
Hum na raheingey na humari yaad
Phir bi isi Koshish main sarapa ehtejaj.
Kuch rahe na rahe, rahe humara vajood
Kariengey isvaste har shie ko sujood.
Kab samjey ga tu ey bashar
Tu khaak hai, khaak banjavogey tum aur tere pidar.
Phir bi kyun hai tuje itnaa nazo-guman
Jaanley tu kuch nahin, bas hai ek sifar.