Incredibly Unprepared for Tourists


Incredibly Unprepared 

 Safety is one among many deficiencies in India’s hospitality  

   Recent reports of crimes against foreign tourists — including the rape of a foreigner resident in Mumbai and that of a missing Japanese tourist headed for Agra — have once again turned the spotlight on the absence of institutionalised security mechanisms in the country to ensure visitors’ safety.

     Even where state governments have put in place a special tourist police force as recommended by the ministry in 2006, recruits don’t seem to have been sensitised to the plight of tourists, particularly those most vulnerable, who understand neither English nor the local language. A case in point is the tourist police cubicle outside the entrance to the Indira Gandhi international airport terminal in New Delhi. It is almost always empty. 

   Safety is by no means the only ingredient lacking in what we offer guests we make so much effort to invite. Elaborate and extensively promoted international marketing campaigns created by India’s tourism ministry — titled Swagat, Visit India, Explore India, and now Incredible India — have, over the years, been directed at attracting more visitors to India.
   In 2007, until November, a record 4.4 million foreign tourists set foot in India, doubling tourist arrival figures in under a decade. This is however an insignificant number when compared to China’s 45 million, Singapore’s 7.5 million and Spain’s 55 million.

 

That’s because these countries have in place world-class infrastructure including accommodation, medical services, transportation and security.
   The problem is that though we’ve been able to increase tourist numbers, little has been done to create the infrastructure to host these visitors. India’s hotel tariffs are now among the highest in the world.

The luxury tax — a relic of the old economy that was premised on punitive measures against luxury — ought to be abolished. This and other levies on the hospitality sector need to be reviewed and the imbalance corrected. Tax holidays and incentives could be given to encourage building many more middlelevel hotels that could be frills-free.

 

This is necessary to meet future demand, especially since the Commonwealth Games and F1 races are events that are bound to bring in large numbers of visitors on top of the growing traffic that we are already struggling to host.

 

Safdarjung Hospital.Angiography , Dialysis To Be Free


 Safdarjung Hospital.

Emergency Treatment, Angiography And Dialysis To Be Free From January

Kounteya Sinha | TNN  New Delhi: There’s some good news for patients visiting the Safdarjung Hospital. Come January, all patients visiting the hospital’s two main emergency wards will not have to pay a single penny for their treatment and stay.
   Angiography to check the condition of blood vessels and to see if the arteries of the heart have narrowed (that costs Rs 2,000-3,500) and dialysis — a method of removing toxic substances from the blood in patients who have kidney failure — will also become free for everyone from January.
   High-end open heart surgeries, like coronary bypass (a procedure to remove the blockage of the heart muscle that costs Rs 70,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh), valve surgery and replacement (in which one or more valves are repaired or replaced with a prosthetic valve and costs Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh) and surgery to correct or treat birth defects of the heart (congenital heart diseases that would easily cost Rs 1-2 lakh) has already become free for all patients below BPL.
   Orthopaedic implants, which usually cost Rs 40,000-80,000, will also be conducted free for BPL patients.
   Cardiac surgeon and medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital Dr Jagdish Prasad told TOI that over 70% of the patients visiting the hospital are extremely poor and come from the villages in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
   The hospital sees over 7,000 patients in its OPDs daily and records 360 fresh admissions everyday. Over 170 emergency and casualty cases are admitted daily while over 79,000 surgeries, small and big, are conducted annually in the hospital. Prasad said: ‘‘Cardiac surgeries of all BPL patients have already been made free. Of the 35 valve replacement surgeries done this month, 28 were free. Usually, we can make out which patients can’t afford to pay. For the rest, we are asking for their ration card and income certificate signed by the BDO/CO of the village to know if they belong to BPL.’’
   He added: ‘‘Emergency care of accident victims, cases of renal failure, septicemia, appendicitis, cardiac failure or any other surgical emergency in the hospital is also being made 100% free for every patient. The hospital will bear the cost of the patient’s drugs, treatment, consultation and stay.’’
   Prasad, who is also principal of Vardhman Mahavir Medical College (VMMC) in Safdarjung Hospital, says an amount of over Rs 23 crore is being set aside to launch these new initiatives.
  Safdarjang Hospital is one of the busiest hospitals. Last year, its OPDs received over 21 lakh patients. The total number of admissions in the past year was 1,17,254 with a bed occupancy of 113.5%.
The hospital also has another unique problem — every day it receives over 100 cases from AIIMS and other hospitals in the city due to non-availability of beds there.’’
   kounteya.sinha@timesgroup.com

RTI : INFORMATION ON LEAVE, TOURS OF BABUS


Mr JR LAL has sent the follwing information 

YOU CAN SEEK INFORMATION ON LEAVE, TOURS OF SARKARI BABUS 

 By an application of 03.10.2006 under RTI Act, Shri Surender Kumar of Rohini, Delhi applied to the Director, CFSL, CBI sought the following information for the period from January, 1995 to October, 2005 in respect of Dr. Rajinder Singh :- 1. Details of leave availed.  

(i)   Casual Leaves 

(ii)  Earned Leaves 

(iii) Half Pay Commuted/Medical Leaves  

(iv)  Year wise details of all 

2. Details of Tours/Journeys performed outside Head Quarter, Delhi.    Year wise details. 

3. Details of Tours/Journeys performed outside Country (on foreign tours) – Year wise details.   

(i)   On official tours   

(ii)  On personal tours 

The request of Shri Surender Kumar was rejected by CPIO claiming exemption from disclosure U/s 8 (1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005.

The First Appellate authority also rejected the appeal. At the Central Information Commission, being the next appellate authority, the Chief Information Commissioner while disposing of Shri Surender Kumar’s appeal no. CIC/WB/A/2007/00064 dated 18.01.2007, in his order dated 19.11.2007 has held that – ‘the information sought is, in the present case, of direct concern to public activity and therefore, to public interest, since it concerns the working of a public servant in his official capacity.  

Details of information regarding personal tours however directly invites the provisions of Section 8(1)(j) and may be provided to the extent of dates and destinations, unless any public money has been involved in their execution.’

Foreign Tourists : Goa


Tourists in Goa asked not to panic

Panaji: The Goa government on Sunday asked tourists not to get panicky following a warning-cum-request issued by an anti-SEZ organisation asking them to leave the State by December 28. — PTI

This is the peak time for visitors to Goa. Weather is pleasant and the mood is carnival and relaxed.

It is a good time for tourists and business.

Also an ideal time for blackmail by ‘activists’.

However Govt of Goa has promised to ensure that all is peaceful in Goa after 28th Dec. Tourists have been assured.

They can stay back and enjoy the New Year too.

Andher Nagari : UP Police baton students


Police baton charge protesting students

Firozabad (Uttar Pradesh): Police baton charged students, including girls, even dragging some by the hair, in this Uttar Pradesh town after they refused to call off their road blockade to protest the murder of the school principal.Students in this town, 50 km from the city of the Taj, were protesting the murder of the principal of S R Gyaneshwari Vidhyalaya. Four of the girls reportedly fainted following the police baton charge.

Rajesh Chaurasia, police official in-charge of the Rasoolpur thana, warned the crowd of more than 150 students to clear the road jam on Asafabad crossing, but they persisted with the blockade forcing the police to baton charge them.

Later, local politicians joined the students and locals to protest the police high-handedness and blocked roads in different parts of the city, leaving the city in turmoil for a couple of hours.

The protesters are particularly incensed over the reported dragging of four girls by the police. “The girls, between six and 16, were dragged by their hair by some cops,” said a functionary of the Samajwadi Party.

The students were demanding punishment for those behind the murder of principal Santosh Kumar Dhakra, reportedly by four unidentified assailants two days ago. Early this month, the manager of the school was also murdered.

District Magistrate of Firozabad, Vinay Kumar Srivastav, has ordered a magisterial inquiry.

Senior police officials in Agra said on Saturday night that things were under control and there was peace now in the city.

But political activists said that the glass city would see more trouble on Sunday if the authorities failed to announce compensation to the victims of Saturday’s police cane charge and also to the family members of the deceased principal.

Foreign Tourists : Lack of Security


    CAPRG has been harping on the need for proper arrangements at airports, railway stations, and bus stands.

     There is aneed for regulating taxi and auto rickshaws in all cities. Drivers of taxis and autos must not be given licenses unless they are fuly trained. Drivers must have their police verification done and obtain security clearances where required.

 Companies and owners must get police clearance for all their drivers. Traffic police must ensure proper running of prepaid booths. 

     RISING INCIDENTS of crimes against foreign tourists has pushed the Tourism Ministry to send a communication to all states asking them to speed up the process of creating a special tourist police force.

     The urgency was highlighted by an incident in Mumbai earlier this week where a Latvian national was raped by a driver who offered her a lift. The ministry had reminded the states to speed up the matter in June at the chief secretaries meet Today, only 10 states have implemented the measure the communication had first been sent last year – while the rest continue to drag their feet.

But even in those states that have deployed special tourist police, it is open to question whether this is merely a token measure or a genuine effort. Incidents have been reported from at least four of the 10 states Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. In September, two Japanese women were allegedly gangraped in Agra. In June, a South Korean tourist claimed she had been raped near Manali and in Alwar, Rajasthan, a German tourist said she had been raped by Biti Mohanty, the son of a top police official from Orissa.

These incidents dent India’s image as a safe tourist destination – despite the Incredible India campaign abroad – and several prominent countries, including the US and the UK, have issued warnings in official travel advisories to their citizens who are bound for India. Other states where the step has been implemented are Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala.

In Goa, a big attraction for foreign travellers, several cases of rape, molestation and other crimes against tourists have been reported. Officials at the ministry pleaded inability to intervene directly, pointing out that law and order being a state subject, they could only urge the states to take adequate steps to protect the tourists. “Whenever such incidents occur, we get a report on them from our regional tourist offices. There is also a complaints cell in our ministry where grievances of tourists are recorded and followed up for action.

Besides, in our media campaigns we try to create awareness among those engaged in the tourism and travel trade as well as general public on the issue,” said a senior official. The issue had also drawn the attention of a parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture, headed by CPM leader Sitaram Yechury A report tabled last month said: “The committee notes with concern that incidents of cheating, fleecing criminal acts and harassment of foreign tourists bring a bad name to the country and have an adverse impact on the foreign tourist arrival.

The committee feels that the issue related with safety and security is vital in creating goodwill and the Union Ministry of Tourism cannot wash its hands off stating that policing is a state subject.

” hbartwal@} hindustantimes.com

Travel advisories of UK, US, Australia and Canada warn their nationals about crime situation in specific destinations in India

 4.40 crore Foreign tourists have arrived in India till November this year 90 crore Foreign tourists arrived in India in 2006 $U5, (s) ? V 2 of street crime, take personal security measures including: are to safeguard your passport and credit/ATM cards, particularly when trayeling by bus and train. There has been an increase in handba snatching in Delhi use aware of what you are eating and drinking. There have been reports of trayellers being drugged and robbed on trains e wary of confidence tricksters, particularly in Agra and Jaipur.

They promise a substantial cash reward for delivery of jewellery abroad but only in return for an initial deposit. The jewellery is invariably worthless and the deposit, often amounting to thousands of pounds, is lost void walking alone in iso- Iated spots after dark.

There have been incidents of sexual offences against women in Delhi and Goa. 0 heft of US Dass- ports is common, particularly in major tourist areas, on overnight trains and at air orts Mt)S citizens, particularly women, are cautioned not to travel alone in India. Western women continue to report incidents of physical harassment ecause US citizens’ purchasing power is comparatively large, travelers should also exercise modesty and caution in their financial dealings in India to reduce the chance of being a target for robbery or any other enme

AUSTRALIA :Petty theft is com mon in crowded areas such as markets, airports and bus and railway stations ravellers have been robbed and assaulted after consuming ‘spiked’ drinks here have been incidents of robbery or assault on passengers in taxis traveling to and from Mumbai and Delhi airports in the early hours. Always use prepaid taxi services and avoid boarding taxis already carrying passengers

CANADA Violent crime against foreigners is uncommon but occurs. Petty crime like pickpocketing and bag snatching is common. Pay attention to security of personal belongings and passports

Multi Year Tariff- Objections on ARR- Press Confrence‏


     Privatisation of Power distribution has resulted in inflating electricity bills in Delhi.

     While the Government of Delhi and the Discoms do not take any action against individuals and companies indulging in Power thefts honest consumers are compelled to pay higher rates and compensate for the power thieves and the inefficiency of Distcoms, DERC and the Government of NCT Delhi.

The message from Chetna is self explanatory. 

Dear All,
    The DERC had invited objections on fixation of Multi Year Tariff in the month of September 2007. We the members of CHETNA and the Civil Society like Promod, SatGoel, Anant Trivedi and Rajinder Rampal had filed our objection for adopting Multi Year Tariff in view of huge T & D Losses to the extent of 90% in some of the areas as would be evident from the attached Power Point Presentation.
      It seems after dealing with the objections and seeking clarification from Discoms the DERC went ahead and permitted the DISCOMS to file ARR on Multi Year Tariff in the month of November 2007. The last date of filing objections initially was 10th December 2007 that was subsequently extended to 20th December 2007.
     In the meanwhile the DERC circulated our objections on Multi Year Tariff amongst the DISCOMS and invited the coments. After receiving the comments from the DISCOMS, the DERC has fixed Public Hearing on 27th December 2007 without authority of law as is evident from the following facts:-
a) No public hearuing could have been fixed by DERC to deal with objections on ARR when the objections were not filed at all;
b) DISCOMS could not have responded to the objections when no objection on ARR was filed;
c) How come DERC could fix Public Hearing on 27th December 2007 when the last date of submission of objections on ARR is 20th December and many of us would file objections on 20th Decmber 2007
     This shows that the Public Hearings are sham exercise and mere wastage of time and state exchequer. Therefore, in order to express solidarity on large scale fleecing of Honest Cosnumers please join us on 22nd December 2007 at 3.00 pm at Confrence Hall Safdarjang Club .
     Mr. Rosham Seth has kindly consented to be with us on that day. No Government world wide permits any one to steal and still get away with theft except India where people can steal power and refuse to pay and the entire Government machinary watches as mook spectator and taxes the Honest Consumers like you and me who continue to suffer and pay in silence.
     The times have come now we have to raise our voices unitedly and protest.
Looking forward to see you on 22nd December 2007 at 3.00 pm

Regards,Anil Sood                          Anil Sharma
President                             Secretary
Cell. 9810514696               9811320203
A-417, Som Dutt Chamber-1,
5 Bhika Ji Cama Place,
New Delhi-110066
Web Site: www.chetna.org.in
E mail: chetna_regd@rediffmail.com