Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Banks and killing machines

Here is a recent story.
Y Yadaiah, 42, an electrician in the state medical and health department, had defaulted on a Rs 15,000 personal loan he had taken from ICICI Bank a few months ago.

Police inspector G Narasaiah said one Raju from Elite Financial Services â?? the loan-recovery agency which has a contract with ICICI Bank â?? along with some others, picked up Yadaiah from his office on Friday. Sunanda, the wife, said

Yadaiah had called her up sometime later, saying the recovery agents had detained him at their office. â??He was told he would not be allowed to leave until he returned the money,â? she said. Around 2 pm, Sunanda received a message from a hospital saying her husband had died.

Then ICICI Bank comes back and says this.
The ICICI bank said on Sunday that the 42-year-old Andhra Pradesh government employee, who had taken a loan from it, died after he felt â??unwellâ? at the office of its debt recovery agency in Hyderabad.

One would be inclined to give benefit of doubt to the bank but then if you also see this then you start thinking what kind of bank is this, people go there and start dying like flies.
This is the second incident in the last month in Nashik, where a person lost his life due to al leged harassment by recovery agents.

Suresh Chaudhari, a 54-year-old mechanic, died on the premises of ICICI Bank on January 13. His family alleged that the death was caused due to harassment by agents. The police filed cases against three ICICI Bank employees.

Recovery tactics employed by banks are increasingly coming under the scanner. The SC, on January 7, had strongly deplored the practice of financial institutions using musclemen to recover loans from defaulters and asserted that recovery of loans should be through legal means.

Some more.
Close to a fortnight after the Supreme Court deplored the use of musclemen to recover loans from alleged defaulters, 42-year-old computer engineer Manish Rajguru passed away due to the alleged use of strong-arm tactics and mental harassment by recovery agents of Nashik Merchant Co-operative Bank.

"We were facing increased harassment from the banks employees as well as the recovery agents deployed by the bank during the last one month. Manish had been tense and nervous due to the behavior of the recovery agents who would barge into our house and abuse us. The tension proved too much for him and yesterday he suddenly collapsed and passed away. I hold the bank responsible for his death," Manish's wife Dr Devang Rajguru a MD in Pathology told HT.

Manish's death was caused by cerebral haemorrhage. Manish is survived by two children and a cancer afflicted mother.

Not that it is an isolated incident. Here are some more barrage of cribs.
I cant help but credit ICICI bank for coming up with the punch line "hum hain na" apko loot ne ke liye...

Here is one more.
The very next day he had deposited the cheque in his account in the ICICI Bank, Mayur Vihar. When, after a few days, he checked with the bank, he found the cheque had not been credited to his account. He immediately contacted Vijaya Bank, Noida, which had issued the cheque.

Imagine Manojâ??s shock when he learnt that the cheque had been encashed. It was found that his name had been struck off and that of `Suresh Kumarâ?? had been written instead. The overwriting on the cheque had been clearly endorsed by fresh signature of the issuing person at two places.

Manoj has lodged a complaint with the Noida as well as the Delhi police while bank officials are maintaining a silence on the issue.

Here is another laundry list of problems.

But one things has to be said about them, they are not racist. They are trying to cheat every country equally. See here.
There are several reasons. The main one is that, despite having a presence in the UK for three years, ICICI Bank still do not comply with the UK Banking Code, which sets minimum standards for customer service. The second reason - related to the first - is that there is a load of anecdotal evidence that customers are still struggling to receive passwords, to have money transfers happen on time and of people generally tearing their hair out trying to get their savings sorted.

So, in the end what do I have to say about it. You become a customer of ICICI bank, they will abduct and get you into their office and then you will die and it will be a natural death. Why senior management of the bank are not taken to task for doing such goofy things. Why are they above law. At times I feel that reason that they have grown so much is because they are above law.

Here is another bright idea that I have, if you take loan with ICICI bank then take a really large pure term insurance policy also with them so that if they claim in the end that your death was natural, they would atleast have to pay for it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bluetooth in malls

Here is an interesting idea, forum mall in Bangalore claims that if you turn on your phone bluetooth while in their mall, they will push interesting deals on your phone as png files. I did turn on my bluetooth and set it to discovery mode for around 5 minutes, I did not get anything, but that may be just timing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Using GPS in India

I always wondered why there are no navigation services in India. Probably there are not enough customers. Finally I have found one decent road navigation solution that can be used in many places in India. It uses underlying google maps. If one is interested, here is how you go about doing it.

Buy a phone that can do GPS, I have used a Nokia N95 for this.
Subscribe to a GPRS plan from operator. You only need to access the web from phone so a airtel-live type of plan would be sufficient. You do not need the capability to use the phone as a modem, those plans are more expensive.
Go to and create an account for your self.
Using the phone download the MGMaps application and set it up based on the instructions provided.

Now run the app on the phone and make sure that you are able to connect. Before running the app you should make sure that you have GPS lock on the phone. On N95 you can use GPS data application and make sure it shows you lat and lon.

Once the app is running, it will show your position on the phone and as you move it would track you on the map. The google maps are pretty accurate and current for many cities and highways in India. For bangalore it even shows you oneway information. Your family can also track you on the web if you share your web username and password with them.

The icing on the cake is that if you have a car TV in your car, N95 has a video out that you can connect to the TV and see the navigation on a larger screen.

Comment if you need more information or your experiences with solution.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Is organized retail about choice

After the organized retail started spreading in India in big way, one of the point in the favor of these guys was that it is all about choice. I liked them to start with but slowly I am finding that it is not really about giving choice to consumer but taking away from them.
I regularly shop with Food Bazaar, Food World, Spencers but the experience has been deteriorating over last few years. Now a days I shop with Food Bazaar and I find them concerned least about the end customer. I understand their need to negotiate the price with the manufacturers in order to give a good price to end customer but every now and then I find that some brands are unavailable with them and one of the reasons that I find from media is that they could not negotiate the price and hence they don't stock those goods.

  • Last year they had stopped stocking Head and Shoulder shampoo

  • Early this year, dawat basmati rice is missing from their shelves

  • For last some weeks Lays potato chips are missing from their shelves

I would say that they need to fix themselves. They could tag goods where they are able to get a better price with something like "Best Buy" but they need to keep everything in their shop. I may not really be interested in the cheap priced, cheap quality stuff that they have in stock.
I think it is time to go back to neighborhood store.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Old Konark Sun Temple Picture

Here is a photo of famous sun temple in konark that we took in 1986-87. I just found the negative of this photo in a pile some days back.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Gujrati Namkeen in Sagar

Sagar is a funny place, its main market is called gujrati bazaar. Its main namkeen is called gujrati namkeen. Here is the old authentic shop.

Sagar's famous sweet shop

The dilapidated building in the picture is the chaudhary sweets (��धर� मिष्ठान्न भ�डार). His sweet made out of Melon Seeds (�िर���� �� बर्��). It seems the sweets were so famous that Indira Gandhi would refuse to believe that somebody is from sagar if they did not bring this sweets.

My old school

Here is my old school where I did my HSSC in Sagar, MP. Nothing has changed in the school.

Who would have thought this is Bhopal

Next to big lake (ब�ा तलाब), the street almost looks like some happening place in Kerala.

New Cafe Coffee day opening

There is a new new cafe coffee day coming up opposite the boating area in Bhopal big lake. Good view of the lake from the restaurant.

Graffiti in Bhopal

Here is an interesting thing that I saw in a small time restaurant in Bhopal. They have put a board where people can leave graffiti by sticking postit notes.