A few days back, I had the privilege of visiting the Public Sector Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation Bus Station in Vijayawada City, the Capital of Residual Andhra Pradesh. Purpose: A friend of mine was carrying some luggage pertaining to his Government of Andhra Pradesh Office work. I was helping him in sharing the weighty luggage, which he intended to book as an ANL Parcel in Vijayawada Bus Station, to a Godavari Town. After some search we traced the ANL Parcel Service Office. The concerned counter in-charge went to tea. We waited till his arrival. After his return, we showed him the luggage and requested him to book the parcel. The manner in which he spoke, we got an impression that he is reluctant to book the luggage. Probably, to discourage us, he said that the parcels will be placed on the top of the bus. This is rainy season. He suggested that we can send the luggage through ANL Courier and showed his hand backwards, asking us to go to ANL Couriers. From that point, our hardships started.
Reason: At that particular point of time ANL Courier counter which was behind him diagonally a few feet away was closed, and its door was locked from the rear of the hall. This, the Counter-in-charge could have straight-away told us, so that we could have made some other alternative arrangement. That would have saved at least 1 hour time and prevented running from pillar to post.
We were not aware of the closure of the rear of the Hall of the ANL Office. The surroundings of the place were full of nearly 150 Security personnel. They were making security rehearsals for the NEXT DAY visit of Mr. Nara ChandraBabu Naidu for inaugurating APSRTC Office in Vijayawada. While carrying the luggage, we were making inquiries from many persons including RTC Hamalis, RTC Staff, Security Personnel where this ANL Courier Office is situated on the rear side of the Hall. They were just showing hands this side or that side, with no other verbal guidelines. There were no "Way to ANL Couriers" Boards. Whenever we went as per their guidelines, we were landing at the lifts which are getting ready for Mr. Naidu's visit, and the Security Personnel were restricting movement of people.
Security Personnel were also not allowing passengers to go to the Renovated Reception Counters etc. I do not blame them because it is their duty to take all safeguards, and view every passenger with suspicion.
At last, at the extreme western rear of the building we found one ANL Courier Board, which might have hosted its old Office. It was found closed.
After 60 to 90 mts. search one Armed Guard was kind enough to show the corridor which leads to the backside of the ANL Parcel Office. It was blocked by a wooden separator to prevent persons from passing through the corridor. There were also some closed toilets. Finally we found one locked door, with no board whatsoever. From the window, it can be seen that it is the same hall which was hosting the ANL Parcel Office. Then, why the ANL Courier did not even have a sign board? Why it was locked? Presumably it was forced to be locked by the Security Cordon, as a part of Rehearsal for Mr. Naidu, ONE DAY IN ADVANCE.
Whatever be the reason for closing the ANL Courier Office on that day, they should have pasted two or three A4 papers saying that it was closed for "Security Rehearsal of Mr. Naidu" or "for any other reason." By just locking it and going, what message is being given? The ANL Parcel Counter-In-charge could have told that their Courier Wing is non-functional, just looking behind a few feet diagonally.
FINALLY WHAT WAS DONE WITH THE LUGGAGE
As the two bags were small, my friend kept them at his feet in the RTC Bus, and left towards Godavari, with his wife and children, in the RTC Bus.
WHY FREE VANILLA URINALS WERE CLOSED?
After bidding farewell to my friend and his family, I just wanted to ease myself by going to a urinal. Now, I have to go back to Guntur, to reach my ultimate desination. Before that it was necessary for me to visit urinal, as we have already spent several hours in the bus station searching for this or that.
URINATING AT VIJAYAWADA BUS STATION UNAVOIDABLE FOR MOST PASSENGERS
Earlier, RTC used to maintain vanilla type toilets, for use of the passengers. For solid excretion, the Contractor used to charge. For just urination, there was no charge. When passengers perform long journies, say from Visakhapatnam to Vijayawada, or from Kakinada to Tirupati, it becomes necessary from them to urinate at two or three places. This is a basic necessity which is expected to be provided by Carrier, free of charge. Even if paid posh urinals are introduced for the convenience of richer passengers, and also to bring back RTC to profitability, they can't totally dispense with free urinal facility. Else how will the poor passengers survive?
A family of husband and wife with two children (standard family) will, now, have to spend Rs. 5x 4 = Rs. 20 just for urinating. From Visakhapatnam to Tirupati if they have to urinate at two or three Bus Stations, urine bill itself will come to Rs. 100/-. These hundred bucks, rich families may want to pay. It is a different thing.
LOW INCOME INDIANS CANNOT AFFORD PAID URINALS IN BUS STATIONS
From my livelihood survey in Residual Andhra Pradesh, most male family-heads, earn monthly Rs. 6,000 or Rs. 200 per day. If wife also works, they will get Rs. 12,000/- or Rs. 400 per day. Running an idli cart, or working in a shop as a sales person, this is the standard in Residual Andhra Pradesh.
IN COMPLETE SOCIALISM WHICH I AM TRYING TO POPULARISE, THIS BEGGARY WILL NOT BE THERE. EVERYTHING WILL BE FREE. PASSENGERS, PL. DO NOT BECOME BEGGARS
I was shocked to find that APSRTC has removed all vanilla free urinals in the Boarding Complex. I went to every such place, where now we have the fashionable board REST ROOMS, Rs. 5 tickets are being sold. When I was insisting on free vanilla urination toilet, the coupon-sales-clerks were just showing hands --> or <--. They were looking at me as though I was a beggar. When I saw the whole affair, I felt that APSRTC is going to charge even if you breathe in their premises. Pl. be beware. Hold your breathe.
ONE VANILLA URINAL NEAR ALIGHTING COMPLEX WILL ALSO GO INTO THE PAID GROOVE
After frontically searching for the free urination toilet, at last I found it in the Alighting Corridor. I can foresee. It is not going to remain there forever as free. They are going to convert into Rs. 5 Rest Rooms. Better, people wake up and approach the RTC Bosses / Government to prevent its conversion into posh Rs. 5 paid urinal.
COST OF TIFFINS
The prices of items in the Canteen are in the sky! The readymade explanation for the State of Affairs is: They have won the contract by participating in an auction. They can't recover costs unless they fix high rates.
SOLUTIONS for HIGH COST OF TIFFINS
RTC has created monopolies by licensing only 2 tiffins stalls in the premises. There is ample space in the Boarding Wing to accommodate more tiffin stalls. RTC can fix a fee, and issue licences for more number of tiffin stalls, creating a competitive climate. It will have to oversee in such a way that they do not form a cartel and jack up prices in tandem.
We do not expect RTC to subsidise tiffins and coffee. But, how can it become a party to day-light-robberies in its own Complex? Vijayawada is a Bus Station, where the daily turnover of Canteens will be very high. Then, the Canteens should be able to operate on a low profit margin, when compared to private stalls outside the bus station. Creating competition among tiffin stalls, with daily surprise checks by different sets of Squads will keep the Contractors on their tenterhooks.
CONTRACTORS CAN DISPLAY ON A CONSPICUOUS NOTICE BOARD THE COSTS OF THEIR PREVIOUS DAY'S PRODUCTION, AND DETAILS OF THEIR SALES REVENUE
Contractors can be encouraged/forced to set up sign boards which show their cost of production and their economics. We do not expect contractors to incur losses in these days of inflation. But, then they should be transparent. Let them disclose their economics to the people!
HOW ABOUT CHARGING MORE THAN MAXIMUM RETAIL PRICES FOR WATER BOTTLES ETC.?
In my survey, I found that some shops are selling Mineral Water Bottles at as high as Rs. 30/-. Passengers are captive, because if they go on arguing about MRP, they will miss their buses.
More number of stalls are to be opened. Daily surprise checks are to be carried out by a DIFFERENT SET OF OFFICIALS.
This disease of charging even for breathing and urinating will spread to whole of India, then to the whole of Asia. Let us not worry what the Europeans and Americans, Canadians and ANZ will do. If they enjoy branding themselves with hot irons, let them do it for themselves. Why should we imitate them, saying that WE WANT WORLD CLASS BUS STATIONS, WORLD CLASS CITIES, and WORLD CLASS CAPIALS ! We not need anything SO EXCESSIVELY SMART. My journey from Vijayawada to Guntur in RTC Bus On SIX LANE NATIONAL HIGHWAY, too gave me this pain of being branded with hot irons. They have wasted away lot of agricultural lands for these six lane Highways, just to facilitate luxury cars to fly at High Speeds. Today, I believe that ordinary willagers who live on the side of National Highways, must be going through a hell, to take their bulls, buffalos, cows to the other side of the road.
TAIL PIECE धूमकेतु తోకచుక్క
Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu is wasting his own time, and the time of TV Channels by giving lectures. He can, incognito, visit the Vijayawada Bus Station and see with his own eyes, what is happening. Then, he can go back, and silently issue written instructions to the appropriate authorities for initiating corrective measures.
Mr. Naidu need not sacrifice his life.
Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu said many times, that he would sacrifice his life for serving the people. He need not sacrifice. But his security arrangements are to be done in such a way that ordinary people are not inconvenienced. Being stabbed by somebody or shot by somebody is an occupational hazard. But, this occupational hazard exists even for MROs Mandal Development Officers, Forest Officers, etc. When they die, Govt. provides some employment to their kith and kin, and pays some compensation. It does not provide bulletproof buses costing Rs. 55 million, or conduct Security Rehearsals with 100 commendos.
INAUGURATION COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BY RTC GENERAL MANAGER OR CEO
Instead of wasting money on Security Arrangements for inauguration (Altogether, these expenses may be Rs. 10 million), Mr. Naidu could have asked the CEO or CMD or RTC to inaugurate the Administrative Office. This would have minimised inconvenience to passengers. The CEO /CMD also would have been happy, to inaugurate his own work. Or they could have asked a Seniormost conductor / driver / mechanic to inaugurate.
MESSRS. NARA LOKESH and K. TARAKA RAMA RAO ARE READY.
Even in the case of Chief Ministers of Telugu land, Mr. Nara Lokesh, and Mr. K. Taraka Rama Rao are ready to take over. The Moghul System of sons imprisoning fathers and capturing the throne, unable to wait till the Emperor dies, has not yet started in the 21st Century INdia. It will start later. Right now, fathers themselves are eagerly annointing their sons-daughters to the throne, before they become restless.
Subject to corrections and deletions. A lot more is to be added. To continue. सशेष. ఇంకా ఉంది.