Friday, 26 August 2011

Review - Godrej locks

We got a Godrej tri-bolt lock. The lock itself looks good .. but I must say, the Godrej service was extremely poor.

I bought the lock around the end of June. Fitting the lock is a free service provided by Godrej. I called up the Godrej helpline and requested that the lock be fitted. I was given a request number, and told that the servicing person would call before he came. Well, that didn't happen. He came suddenly during office hours, when, obviously, I was in office. We talked over the phone, and he agreed to come the next day. So I stayed home, but he didn't show up. Hmm. Called him, and he said he was far away, in Kengeri. Agreed to come on the weekend, when, predictably, he didn't show up.
I called up the main office in Bangalore after that. The person who picked up the phone said he would look into it and call back. No calls. This was getting to be quite irritating.

After this, I was quite busy, so through July, I called the Bangalore office once every week, and got the usual false promise. I was sort of giving up on the lock by now. Finally, mid-August, I called up the main call center to register a complaint. I couldn't! The call center operative who took my call said he could put in a reminder for the local cell to complete the work, but he wouldn't take a complaint. I then called up the Bangalore office, and was told that because the request was so old, they had closed it. By now I got mad. I had to start shouting, and after that I called repeatedly for one and a half days till they sent someone home to fix the lock.

To summarize, the Godrej locks service was terrible. I wouldn't repeat the experience.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Getting a passport for a minor in Bangalore

We just applied for my son's passport, and the process, though unambiguous, was a long one. While waiting in queues, I realized that a lot of parents were making the same mistakes that we did. Hope this post will help parents who want to apply for their child's passport!

1. Get the spouse's name endorsed on one parent's passport. I would suggest adding the husband's name on the wife's passport - that is a more common occurrence. Presenting the passport officials with non-standard situations doesn't work in our favour. For this endorsement, you will need:
 - husband's passport
 - marriage certificate (or annexure d). If the marriage certificate doesn't contain names identical to the one on the passport, I suggest submitting annexure d.
 - two separate address proofs e.g., bank statement, phone bill, company letter with seal, gas connection bill, electricity bill. You may be asked to show proofs that are more than an year old also, so take along old bills/statements as well.

2. After getting the spouse's name endorsed, at least one parent's passport is up to date - latest address etc. At this point, if your child's birth certificate is correct (i.e., the child's name is spelt correctly, and both parent's names are as they appear in their respective passports), you are good to go. If not, get the birth certificate corrected.

3. Once you are ready to apply (and don't bother to apply without 1 & 2 completed), register at passportindia.gov.in, download the pdf, complete it, validate and upload the xml. Do not upload scans of supporting documents. The site is buggy, don't overload it. If you want to apply for tatkal, do so - minors, do not need annexures F and I (at least, we didn't - our baby's age is 1.5 years). You can call the passport helpline to confirm. There is also a document list generator on the passport site, that didn't list these annexures as requirements either.

4. Take an appointment for the passport at one of the passport seva kendras. Interesting fact: even though you register online for an appointment, all slots will always be unavailable. They only open appointment registration at 8am. So if you want an appointment on 4th April, logon to the website at 7:59am on 3rd April, and try to get an appointment when the slots open at 8am. Note that the passport seva kendra takes only cash - a DD is not accepted. I wasted 50 bucks making the DD, and 100 bucks canceling it - and about 3 hours to go through the process at the bank!

5. At this point, if your documentation is good, you should have it easy. Take extra parent id proofs, address proofs etc., but they shouldn't be required. You will definitely need the birth certificate, annexure h (plain paper will suffice), parent's passports. Additional address proofs may not be required since one parent's passport already contains the latest address. Take at least one self-attested photocopy of each document.

6. Lastly, take your child's photograph along. This isn't required, but will save a lot of trouble. The passport official will kindly scan it instead of trying to make your baby sit steady for a photo. If your child is very boisterous, like mine is, you will really appreciate this!

Please leave comments if you find this useful :)
Good luck!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Correcting a birth certificate in Bangalore

I've just managed to get my son's birth certificate corrected. His birth certificate didn't contain the parent's middle names, so the passport office wouldn't accept an application for his passport. The birth certificate correction process was long and painful - so I'm going to document it here, hopefully someone will find it useful.

 Steps:

1. Go to the hospital where the child was born, and ask them to update the parent's names. Also ask them to give a letter addressed to BBMP, listing the correction in the name. The hospital will ask for your id proof, submit copies of your passports.
2. If your child is less than one year old, then go to the birth registration office where you applied in the first place. e.g., for Mallya hospital babies, this is the Shantinagar office. If your child is more than one year old, then all records are moved to the main office - this is the BBMP office next to Upparpet Police Station, Majestic, Bangalore. My son's case fell in the second bucket, so I went to the main office.
3. Get the application form (its the same as a fresh application), and submit it with the following documents:
     - hospital letter
     - your passport photocopies
     - your school certificate photocopies (should have the same name as passport)
     - affidavit stating that name is incorrect, correct names are blah blah (I'll try and upload the format we used later)
4. Submit all these when putting in the application for the name correction. The clerk accepting the form may return one or more of the above documents, stating that they are not required. Ask her to add them to the file anyway - when the case comes to the proper official, all these documents are required.
5. Go on the appointed day to collect the birth certificate (after 3:30 pm). If you are unlucky, you will have to meet the head of the department who will have some extra requirements - if you are lucky, you can collect it from the ground floor.

That completes the steps, now for the story.
I got the letter from the hospital, and went to the main BBMP office. Completed the form, and tried to complete the application. Was told that parent's school certificates are also required, passports are not sufficient id proof (!!). So I went the next day with school certificates. The clerk who took the application returned the school certificates, said they weren't required. A little frustrating, but what the hell, at least the application was in. The due date was 15 days later.
15 days later, I went there at 10:30am. Was told to come after 3:30pm. At 3:30pm, the certificate still wasn't ready - I was asked to meet the department head. He informed me that the records hadn't been shifted from the Shantinagar office yet, so he couldn't do anything. I'm afraid I lost it a bit. Asked him, isn't this the main office? Yes. Aren't the records supposed to be here? Yes. Then how can you ask me to go to a different office after 15 days, and start all over again? I'm trying to apply for a passport in a hurry, and this isn't helping! He looked at the changes requested again, then said that if I came on Monday or Tuesday with our school certificates (!) and a joint affidavit, he would accept it and make the changes. Even gave me his cell number so I could call him before coming. Now, I couldn't do anything on Monday (I need to go to work occasionally after all!) so I got the affidavit done on Tuesday. Called him from the Koramangala BDA complex, and he said he's on leave, come Wednesday at 3:30 pm. Aargh. So I went there at 3pm, and he didn't turn up till 4:20! Quite a crowd had gathered by then. After waiting my turn, and reminding about my case, finally, at 5:10pm, I had the corrected birth certificate. No bribes, 5 visits to the BBMP office, and I finally had the corrected document. Phew!

Related post: http://treadrightly.blogspot.com/2011/08/getting-passport-for-minor-in-bangalore.html

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.