Can't speak Marathi? Then put up with power cuts

Parinda Zila (59) and her husband Shiraz Zila (66) turned Punekars two years ago. Late last year they moved into their flat at Archana Greens on NIBM Road.  But the past 8-10 days have been hellish for this couple, as sporadic power failure in the area is making their life miserable. Not only this – the Zilas say whenever they have tried to file a complaint with the call centre of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MSEDCL), they have been asked to speak in Marathi, and their grievances conveyed in Hindi and English have not been entertained.

“The lights go out at least 2-3 times a day. I have called up the authorised call centre number (18020034351) every time, but instead of providing us with proper answers, the representatives there ask us to speak in the local language, which is not possible for us as we don’t know Marathi adequately. Even if we choose the ‘English’ option in the Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS), the call centre people speak in Marathi. I tried speaking in Hindi and requested them to do the same, but they again refused to cooperate,” Parinda Zila told MiD DAY.

Shiraz Zila

The couple is distressed that no other resident from the area has apparently reported the frequent power failures and claims MSEDCL officials say they will take a complaint only if other dwellers also come forward. “This is no way to treat the elderly. This problem has been taking a toll on our lives in a big way. My husband is 66 years old. He calls me every time he is on his way home to check if there’s power, as he cannot climb three floors at this age without access to lifts,” lamented Parinda. 

House that! Archana Greens on NIBM Road, where the Zilas live. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

“Such incidents are highly unlikely to happen as there is an IVRS option for customers. If the English option is chosen, we have trained employees to respond in that particular language. I will inquire into the matter. Presently the call center for Pune is being operated from Bhandup (Mumbai). However, we have the infrastructure for a 40-60 seat call centre ready in the city, which will start functioning soon,” said an MSEDCL spokesperson.

When contacted, MSEDCL’s divisional officer of the area Dinesh Badse said, “Customers should not be treated this way by call centre officials, as they are there to help them. I have spoken about this matter to the chief executive officer (A Khandekar) and he will take this up at higher level and a proper inquiry will be done.  About the frequent power failure, a few technical problems in the area have forced us to shut down the electricity a few times. Now the problem is nearly solved and continuous supply of power will be available.” 

The other side
MiD DAY spoke with the chief executive officer of MSEDCL’s Rasta Peth Office, Atmaram Khandekar, to get his response on the matter. “We will try to avoid inconveniencing our customers henceforth, and will provide the best service to them,” said Khandekar.

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