The E-menace

The E-menace
Highlights

The E-menace. The hassles of online payment as websites are not updated by the concerned authorities.

The hassles of online payment as websites are not updated by the concerned authorities.

Online solutions for hassle free e-governance were meant to become the greater respite. And the country’s government left no stones unturned to give its citizens with internet connection, easier life. Ironically, the outdated and traditional processes among most common and pivotal websites are bringing back the decorum of a typical government office to houses of its citizens. Many government websites which offered online solutions for public or enterprises have become more of an online headache. Most of these have navigational issues, others are updated only once in few months, while many others have serious design or usability flaws.

The next time if the government gallantly announces another new civic body’s penetration to the electronic world, the denizens might not be as impressed as they did, half-a-decade ago. Blame the administrators of major websites who have brought back the decorum of a typical government office to the electronic world. The most common processes like bill payments, paying challans, booking tickets or checking for an online solution for any governmental activity, have turned into a run-in-the-mill game for the citizens. Now, the citizens are wondering whether to do these routine activities online or get it done at the ground level.

APCPDCL and electricity bill mess up

Rajender, a resident of AS Rao Nagar, received a disconnection notice from the APCPDCL for not paying his electricity bill. Rajender confirms that he had checked over a dozen times to see if there were any pending bills but the Electricity Board website said none. “I was shocked on receiving the disconnection notice.

I have been monitoring the bill status on the website and it never showed any arrears,” he said.

The board’s website even on Saturday morning does not show any arrears. Rajender is now running from pillar to post on how to compensate for the mistake committed by website administrators.

The case of Rajender does not stand isolated. He is one among a hundred such hapless citizens of the city who felt electronic medium would cut down the vicious circle of governmental procedures.

Hyderabad Traffic Police

When it comes to a major online mess-up then Hyderabad Traffic Police’s website rules the roost. If one is fined on road for any traffic violation, then it turns out to be a double trouble, thanks to a goof-up by the Hyderabad Traffic police officials. Even after paying huge fines, the e-challan status of some of those caught in violations shows that they still have to pay the fine amount for the offence.

According to rules, the fine amount imposed for drunken driving is collected in the court and is not part of the e-challan system. “There was a manual mistake that was committed by the constables concerned which has resulted in the confusion,” informed M Narsing Rao, Inspector, e-challans.

Every time drivers paid the penalty for drunken driving to the court, the constables entered it into the database, which they should not have done. Apparently, the mess-up gave a higher leeway for the offender, as the website administrators were at the wrong end.

Facebook is wife and Website is mother for HTP

Metesh Thakur, a graphic designer was challaned for signal jumping last year. Even after paying the challan, the website shows his fine is due. He complained, “The traffic cops were busy interacting with people on Facebook rather than maintaining their website.”

The website is so outdated that it was found that even the basic information present on the website was wrong. When asked about it to a circle inspector of traffic police, he gave quite a tongue-n-cheek reply. "Website is like a mother and Facebook page is like a wife. When a guy is married he cares for his wife a lot and tends to ignore his mother. The same is happening with our website too. Facebook page is trendier so our department is more interested in Facebook page and it ignores the website."

IRCTC

When it comes to online predicament, then IRCTC deserves a special mention. The booking time under Tatkal quota has been reduced to 24 hours, but logging in the IRCTC website during the early morning hours would simply be next to impossible. The site is not optimised for all type of internet connections, including the slower ones. Hence, one finds a lot of issues in opening the site and being able to effectively search and/or book and cancel a ticket.

BSNL

BSNL's website is as patchy as its cellular network. The content on the website is badly sorted and the developers have left it for the visitors to sift through the information useful to them.

The ones looking for broadband plans have to go through multiple tabs, jargons and convoluted information. If you click on Home BB Plans, a pop-up will open with BSNL assuming all Indians live in Hyderabad.

Siddharth, a government employee said, “the online payment never works. As soon as you feel that the transaction has been done, the next pop up would say ‘transaction has failed’.”

Passport

If you are visiting passport office website then make sure your computer and internet do not suffer any glitches. In case any tech issue happens while you are filling up your form, you have to fill all the information all over again.

Even private operators lag website upgradation

Apparently, prominent private cell phone operators are far behind, when it comes to updating websites. The owner of phone number: 9010084888, shared that his phone bill with Idea Cellular network was due for a month. He was sent back home by customer care representatives at Idea showroom stating that her had no arrears. The dues were also not updated on the website either. Very recently, he was slapped with a legal notice for non-payment. “After receiving the legal notice, I went to pay the dues and the representatives still said I had no arrears. I have no idea now,” he lamented.

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