MTNL Value-add Comes For A Song, Literally

New Delhi: | Updated: Nov 28 2002, 05:30am hrs
Imagine discussing your PhD thesis with your supervisor on the phone and suddenly it starts playing the Hindi number Jhumka gira re.... Thats what happened to Rajeev Kunwar, when he was speaking to Prof Nirmala Jain (his supervisor) in a posh Delhi locality some time ago.

In certain areas of Delhi, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) gives an unasked-for value added service. If you happen to be speaking to somebody over the phone in Jubilee Hall, a hostel in Delhi University, more often than not, chances are, you will also get to hear some Hindi songs in the background. The culprit is the radio transmitter nearby.

A senior All India Radio (AIR) official informs that there are three medium wave transmitters in Mall Road, whose radio frequency (RF) is picked up by the telephones when the telephone systems are not earthed properly.

Usually in places where there are radio transmitters, the telephone authorities do proper earthing and put some filters to prevent the phones from receiving radio signals. Your phones should work like phones only, not radio receivers, he quips.

Meanwhile, the residents have interesting experiences. A resident of Jubilee Hall, Sujit Mahapatra, says,The songs you hear range from classical to romantic numbers. Though sometimes, a song suits the occasion, mostly they are a disturbance. At times, you also hear the news headlines. Not that the residents are always complaining.

And background songs are not all that the radio transmitter causes. There are times when the keys of the instrument just dont function.

DU student Mahapatra initially thought his instrument had some problem, till he called up an MTNL official, who said, Are songs your only problem Arent there times when your telephone keys dont function

The official then suggested two ways in which the problems could be solved shift the radio transmitter or shift your residence.

When eFE contacted MTNL, a senior official admitted that there are problems in certain areas as we do get complaints. But he claimed that these problems are regularly attended to. If only all his colleagues acted as promptly as he claims!

Generally we change the instruments, as instruments of some brands pick the signals more than the others, the official said.

Well, MTNL does attend to some complaints. Mr Kunwar was lucky. After the Jhumka gira re incident with his professor, he made a call to the MTNL.

MTNL staff came and offered a manual solution. They attached two open ended wires at the junction point of my telephone. So, everytime some inappropriate song started, I just had to catch the two wires and music would stop, he laughs.

One of the hostelers quips, If MTNL gave us the option to choose when and what song we want to hear, it would be great.

As for Prof Jains reaction on that fateful day, she had shouted, Whats that background music which later changed to an incredulous Where do you stay

Mr Kunwar now stays in an East Delhi location.