Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) officials are no more BlackBerry boys, as they want cellphones that run on systems such as Android, which offers varied number of applications to download.
Two years ago, civic body had started a scheme to provide BlackBerry cellphones to all heads of various departments and executive engineers. However, the scheme was recently discontinued as officials refused to accept the handsets. More than 50 per cent of officials, who were earlier using the phones, returned them as some wanted more applications and others found them too complicated to use.
“When we began the scheme, the starting range of BlackBerry was about Rs 20-25K. In last two years around 70 phones have been distributed. Initially many officials accepted the phone because at that time BlackBerry was in demand. Now all officials are using smartphones that run on other platforms and we have not received any application for BlackBerry,” said PMC official on condition of anonymity.
He further added, “BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was an important source of connection between officials. But now WhatsApp has changed the entire scenario and officials are connected through that.” Rahul Jagtap, head of the IT department, PMC also confirmed that there was very little response for the BlackBerry scheme. He said, “The scheme has been stopped. There are many varieties in the market and many officials found BlackBerry little bit complicated.” He added that officials have returned about 35-50 BlackBerry phones in the last two years. Shriniwas Kandul, head of the store department who has moved to an Apple iPhone said, “Convenience is more important. Many times we work on the field and conduct work from outside. In that situation I found smart phones to be more convenient, even for checking maps, transferring data etc. So officials are ready to spend money instead of taking phone from corporation.”