Thursday, 17 November 2016

A call for pre-paid cab operators at Mumbai airport to accept cards. Please pitch in

The Mumbai police has given an address where we can write in requesting for card payments and mobile wallet payments at the airport pre-paid cab counter.

I just wrote in. Request you all to do so too and share this. We can at least try

The ID to write in is :

This is the text of my mail:


My name is Kalyan Karmakar. I am a food and travel writer based in Mumbai and am a frequent traveller who uses the airports at Mumbai very often. 

I recently flew into T2 from Hong Kong via Kolkata. I didn't have cash on me as I had left country before the demonetisation drive.

I wanted to use a card to book a pre-paid cab at the airport but couldn't as they don't accept cards. I finally took a Meru and requested my wife to pay when I reached home. Luckily I had 100 Rs to Pay the convenience fee.

My request to you is that you should ask the pre-paid taxi counter to accept cards and mobile wallets such as paytm to help us citizens make the Prime Minister's demonetisation drive a success. This will make it easy for foreign tourists and business travellers too and help make our airports even more world class

I do hope you will look into this request and ensure that these measures are implemented by the pre-paid cab counter at the earliest.


Kalyan Karmakar 
Twitter: @finelychopped
Phone: xxxxxxxx

Update: Here's the response from CSIA and I must also add that the Mumbai Police has been very responsive to my tweet on another issue too. Makes one feel great and now let's hope that they can get the taxi operators to accept cards/ PayTm:

Dear Mr. Karmakar,

Greetings from CSIA,Mumbai!

Thank you for sharing your suggestion with us which we received through email on November 18, 2016 about cashless mode of payment at pre-paid taxi counter.

We are pleased to inform you that our concerned team is engaged with the pre-paid taxi association for their consideration of alternate payment modes. We shall share your feedback on the same with them.
We appreciate your feedback, it helps us identify improvement opportunities and ensure better passenger experience.

Once again we thank you for your suggestion and wish you a pleasant experience at CSI Airport.

Yours sincerely,

Team - Customer Care & Quality
Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd.
Tel: 91 22 66852351 / 2306 (D) (Office Hours)
Our Vision for CSIA: To be one of the World's best airports that consistently delights customers and be the pride of Mumbai

Who are the demons of India's demonitisation?

I rarely comment on social or political issues as I prefer not to speak about things I am not fully aware of.

The current demonisation issue has led to lot of strident comments on social media from both of sides of the fence and stands are usually extreme
rather than nuanced.

So I decided to write a post on this on Facebook.
Sitting at a place which doesn't accept cards and where I had to depend on my wife to buy my breakfast.

Here's what I wrote:

I'd been out of the country when this demonitisation thing happened. Didn't have cash on me but was not affected much personally at the beginning.

I couldn't buy fish for my granny from local markets when I reached Calcutta as I didn't have cash and had no time to go to a super market. It was not critical. 

I had to intervene on her behalf to make a payment to the worker clearing the garbage at her place. Neither of us had non 500 Rs notes to give him and being a daily labourer, he couldn't take a day off work to exchange the 500 Re notes he got.  

I used Uber in Kolkata very peacefully

using Paytm. Local cabbies take cash which is unaccounted for by the way and, in Kolkata, they refuse to go anywhere in any case. 

Using Uber and debit cards I could get gran's much needed medical check ups done. Left to herself, or to my aunt in Kolkata, it wouldn't have happened because they don't lead a

digital life

The pre-paid cab counter at Mumbai airport don't take cards so I needed my wife to come down with cash for the Meru cab when I reached home last night. I had 100 Rs to pay for the convenient fee thankfully

Lot of folks - cabbies, Grocers, big city market vendors, fish sellers, paan wallahs - who take only cash are not BPL and they don't pay taxes.

Thanks to them many small operators, who are genuinely poor, are losing business with customers like us going to people who accept digital cash. But that's not everyone 

I also saw huge queues of people trying to withdraw their own money in Kolkata and Mumbai for daily needs. Money which is accounted for and in their bank accounts and

not 'black'. It's not easy to get cash. People like us can still  manage to some extent but we are a minority. People who don't live in India, and who are pontificating on the issue, are not affected by this 

The reasons for cash economy are grey and not everyone standing in a queue trying to withdraw money is an unpatriotic, black marketeer 

So let's think twice before posting a funny meme. I am a bit tired of sanctimonious and vapid social media posts on the issue and let's not glorify pain. 'Vision' has to be thought through too

Few things in life are as easy as tweeting or facebooking or instagramming and yes, none of this is comparable with being a soldier on the borders

Empathy will help. Understanding will help. 

And, from the government, communication and transparency and measures to make

It easier for its citizens. We are all in one team after all