Smart Cities Council India - Inadequate Support and Rude Response of Smart Cities Council Organizers (SUBTLE
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Complaint by: Ash Sharma on December 30, 2016, 4:34 pm in Building and Construction

Dear Dispute Resolution Team,

I am writing this email to express my negative experience through my short interaction and engagements with the customer support staff and organizing staff of Smart Cities Council India.I mention that my only motivation for writing this email is to provide a meaningful feedback to the Smart Cities Council Team of India.

Further, before going into the specifics, let me give a brief introduction of myself. I am Ash and currently working as an independent sustainability consultant in India. I relocated to India from Sydney very recently. While presently I am working towards establishing my own start-up consulting firm in Delhi, I have joined a private consulting firm India and I have been contributing indirectly as a sub-contractor to some of the Indian Government Funded (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) projects and UNDP projects in India.

We are working in close partnership with Swiss Government for the implementation of Energy Conservation Buildings Codes (ECBC) in States of Karnataka and Chhattisgarh in India. Prior to this, I was working as a graduate environmental researcher overseas (S. Korea, USA and Australia) for last 4 years. I obtained all my post-grad qualifications (MS in environmental engineering from S.Korea, MRes in environmental sciences from Macquarie University in Australia and PhD first sem from The University of Toledo, OH, USA).

And, My bachelor's is in civil engineering from a prestigious central university of India, The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) located at Aligarh in the state of UP in India. Throughout my stay (4 years) overseas, my education and research has been fully funded by agencies such as NSF USA, Australian government, and South Korean Government. While working overseas, I heard a lot about the Modi Government sponsored campaigns in India and overseas such as "Make in India", "Digital India", "Start-up India". All such advertisements and media publicity motivated me to QUIT my engagements overseas and I decided to move back to India.

Personally, I have a habbit of attending Social networking events and cross cultural meetups and conferences. So, I was continuing the same after arriving in India. Hence, I started searching for appropriate conferences/summits in India with theme based on energy efficiency, sustainability, renewable energy and smart cities concept. Finally, I found a decent event about 'Smart Cities Summit" in India and here is my experience.

After visiting the website of "Smart cities Council in India, I came to know about the details of event organizers Vrushali Kulkarni, Deepti and Prashant etc. I tried to reach-out to the team via emails, phone calls, messages etc, however, to my surprise, my correspondence was consistently ignored and neglected. My phone calls were ignored. Moroever, whenever my phone call was picked up by one of these people starting with Vrushali then she said that she is no longer associated with the "Smart Cities Council Team" of India though the website still shows the same details.

So. the very first thing could be to update the website with appropriate contact details so that the visitors and "Prospective Smart Cities Council Members" are not confused. Ms. Vrushali then suggested that I should contact the appropriate agencies.

Moreover, she neither responded nor acknowledged my email. This is quite contrary to all western countries where all the communications are responded promptly either manually or through system generated email and this assures the communicator/client about the progress of the communication/client's request for information. Later, I spoke with another team member - Mr. Prashant and he also discouraged saying that the conference fees is 30,000 INR which is too much for a entrepreneur like me who is in very early stage of business development phase.

Also, my current financial engagements and earnings during transition phase doesn't allows me to afford such a high fees though I have no dearth of IDEAS. Also, I further requested Prashant for any route and possibility to engage in this summit as an OUTREACH ACTIVITY etc. Moreover, I also asked him about their team's CSR PROPOSITION and the possibility for me to attend with my Australian POST-GRAD STUDENT VISA Status ? However, to my surprise, he advised me that we charge same fees to all students and no waiver is possible and infact we hinted to me that this conference is mainly for SENIOR MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONALS or those who are in advance stage of their start-up launch phase.

Later on, I tried reaching out to another team member, Ms. Deepti. I wrote email to her in early December 2016 and I have been trying to get in touch with her for last one month but she consistently ignored my phone call and didn't acknowledged my email or SMS. However, today, somehow I was connected to her.

Then, I reminded her of my emails. Then, she said that she didn't received any emails at all from me. And, when I insisted further then she suggested that I should write another email to her. Later, I requested her to kindly check the email and then she checked and found the email.

I wrote a detailed and clear email requesting for the membership pf "SMART CITIES COUNCIL INDIA" and "Delivering a talk on " SUSTAINABLE URBAN ENERGY TRANSITION IN INDIA". My research proposals on URBAN ENERGY TRANSITION were highly appreciated by some of the leading Researchers/Professors at Australia and overseas from Prestigious institutes such as UNSW Sydney, University of Melbourne, Macquarie University, Northeastern University BOSTON, UTS Sydney etc. However, surprisingly, India is a country of extremes without any RESPECT FRO TALENT AND SKILLS. India is a country where it is more important to have good relationships with GODFATHER'S in your field as opposed to your CREATIVITY, OUTSIDE THE BOX IDEAS, OUTSTANDING QUALIFICATIONS.

Nothing has changed in India over the years. The new government policies have more of the FORM OVER THE SUBSTANCE as opposed to the REAL SUBSTANCE. It's all a HYPE and PROPOGANDA. The "EASE OF DOING BUSINESS" has become FAR WORST then what it was previously.

THE DEMONETIZATION CAMPAIGN was intentionally designed to TARGET POORS and HAVES NOT as OPPOSED to "THE RICH and THE INFLUENTIAL". After talking with SM. Deepti (Smart cities Council Organizer), I felt utterly HOPELESS, FRUSTRATED and DISGUSTED and now I am giving up my interest to attend the event. Further, she advised me that they only entertain BIG COMPANIES (such as L &T, Microsoft, AECOM, DAIMLER etc) for delivering talk and key note session without any scope or possibility to struggling consultants similar to your stature.

Moreover, she insulted by suggested that I am better off attending local events/workshops etc to have a taste of SMART CITIES CONFERENCE. Finally, it is my humble to request to every one copied here including media persons that it is our civil responsibility and a sense ethics and moral obligation to give equal opportunity to everyone irrespective of one's financial status, background, state of residence etc. We never know who is capable of THINKING INNOVATIVE IDEAS. Innovation and thinking outside the box is not a monopoly of small section of a society.

Through such inappropriate and discouraging response of SMART CITIES COUNCIL INDIA Team, I strongly believe that the basic founding PILLARS IN INDIA : The PILLARS of DIVERSITY, ETHICS, MORALS and INCLUSIVENESS in India have become stories of the past. It is high time that we start encouraging everyone to promote INCLUSIVENESS, DIVERSITY AND INNOVATION to foster a rich and sustainable living environment. Let us not forget the SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDG's) which we advocate now and then. Feel free to reach-out to me to further discuss the feedback at : ash08.sharma@gmail.com Hoping that my story will be appreciated and it might be useful for the team to improve their services to make this event a TRUE SUCCESS.

Regards,
Ashish
(FYI : Media persons should feel free to publish this story or a personal interview with me following a phone call with me to highlight plight of struggling entrepreneurs in India)
-- Ash S(Sustainability Consultant) B.Tech, MS (S.Korea), MRes (Australia)

Complainant's Goal: Oppose subtle form of RACISM in India by Smart Cities Council India
Complainant's Target: Smart Cities Council India
Complaint Location: IndiaDelhi

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