‘Endlich Sind Wir Hier Raus’ (‘Finally, We Are Out Of Here’ in German language) – Touring German Couple Peter Pavasek and Alona leaving Mangaluru after Customs & DHL Staff in Bengaluru held and delayed in delivering their Van Spare Part for THREE Weeks. ” It does surprise me why I was denied in delivering the parcel when I had produced all the documents. I am not a terrorist nor a smuggler nor a drug dealer, instead a innocent tourist exploring few places in the world. I went to Bengaluru Airport twice, on 30 December 2019 and on 6 January 2020, and was given assurances by the concerned authorities that my parcel will be delivered soon, but the assurances were all fake. Even the DHL staff Vinod Prabhu played games and gave me hard times. I never expected such kind of treatment here, even though we were welcomed with gesture by Indians in other cities. But Mangaloreans were very friendly, even the hotel staff at Summit Suites, Mangaluru, the employees at local Mercedes Benz showroom at Kannur/Adyar, and few others- and we feel sad to leave their company. But on 14 January the parcel arrived, and it was a happy ending of a long ordeal. We will remember this experience forever, of Incredible India!”.
Mangaluru: India wants foreigners to visit our Country, and many a time when these foreigners land on Indian soil, they encounter some kind of hassles or hardship, either at the customs or at the Immigration or with the police or other administration staff, for no reason at all. And here is one such example where a touring couple from Germany, Peter Pavlasek and Ms Alona, who have visited many countries in their Mercedes Van, and had made a pit stop in Mangaluru on 19 December 2019, faced an horrific experience with the Customs Officials in Bengaluru, and also with a DHL staff in Bengaluru, which they will remember forever. Incredible India!
Reaching Mangaluru on 19 December 2019, unfortunately, bad luck struck this couple, since their van broke down due a shock absorber fault, and the spare parts had to be ordered from Germany. And yet another bad luck for this German couple was that they were at a wrong place at a wrong time, when a curfew was clamped in Mangaluru due to protests against CAA and NRC and police firing where two people died, on 19 December 2019. And since 19 December 2019 until 15 January 2020, this German couple were stranded in Mangaluru, waiting to get their spare part for their broken Mercedes Van released from the Customs department in Bengaluru, and getting it delivered through DHL courier service.
Here is the elaborate story of their ordeal – Peter Pavlasek and Alona who were on a world tour in their Mercedez Benz Recreational Van, which started on 1 May 2019, had reached Mangaluru on 19 December 2019. Prior to reaching Mangaluru, they had toured nearly 15 countries including Poland, Iceland, Russia, Mongolia, Lithuania, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, before reaching India on 24 November 2019. In India, they visited many places, including Delhi and Agra, among others. While they were in Mangaluru, the shock absorber of their van had problems, which had to replaced with anew one. Approaching the Mercedes showroom in Mangaluru, Peter was advised by the staff at Mercedes showroom to order the part in his own name to speed up the delivery time, if not it may take a month for the delivery process if the showroom placed the order.
As per the suggestion made by the local Mercedes staff, Peter placed an order for the spare part on 20 December, which was supposed to be shipped from Estonia ( a country in Northern Europe, borders the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland) for 300 Euros, and on 22 December 2019 the part reached Bengaluru International Airport. And now came the most horrific experience and also a nightmare that the couple never expected. The problem was that DHL courier service had created a blunder by putting the name of Mangaluru Benz showroom employee as the receiver of the parcel, instead of Peter Pavasek. Even though the representative from local Benz showroom gave a no-objection letter to Pavlasek in order to receive the parcel from Bengaluru airport, but Peter’s efforts were all in vain, since the customs officials were reluctant to hand over the parcel citing unwanted reasons, and alas, Peter had to come back to Mangaluru with no spare parts parcel.
Few day later, on 6 January Peter spoke to the Deputy Commissioner of Customs and after scrutinizing all the required documents, the Commissioner issued a NOC (no-objection certificate) to Peter, so he can collect the spare parts parcel, and Peter was assured that the package would be delivered soon to Mangaluru, but Peter’s wait for the package was all in vain, as the parcel didn’t arrive. In the meantime, an employee of DHL Vinod Prabhu was also giving hard times, in delivering the parcel to Peter, even though he had all the NOC from Customs Commissioner. Bah humbug! Peter had even paid Rs 2000 extra as penalty through local Benz showroom, but it was of no use, since the parcel never arrived.
Peter and Ms Alona later through a media took the help of MLA Vedavyas Kamath, who through his influential friend in Bengaluru, tried to solve the problems by communicating with the concerned authorities at the Bengaluru Airport- and it did work. After a long wait of nearly three weeks for a spare part, even after it was shipped to Bengaluru Airport on 22 December, the German couple FINALLY received the spare parts parcel on 14 January 2020, and the van was quickly fixed at the Benz showroom here, in Kannur/Adyar.. After the van was repaired, the Couple traveled to Kerala on 16 January, from there they will proceed towards Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
Finally, it was a happy ending to a terrible ordeal, and the staff of Hotel Samit Suites, Mangaluru; and staff of Mercedes Benz Showroom at Kannur/Adyar, Mangaluru felicitated Peter and Ms Alona, and the couple were overwhelmed with the kind gesture by Mangaloreans on them, and they both thanked the hotel, and Benz showroom staff for their love and care, during their stay in Mangaluru.
In conclusion, in my perspective- What was the need for the delay and fuss made by the Customs Officials and also the DHL employee, even after the needed genuine documents were produced by this German couple. Is this how we treat innocent foreigners when they come to India, with such kind of attitude. While “INCREDIBLE INDIA’ is trying to welcoming in more of foreigners into India to strengthen Indian tourism and its revenue, it should also take care of them when they are here, and not show our attitude, like it was done in the case of this German couple on a simple issue, which could have been settled within hours, rather than weeks. No wonder, the Indian Tourism logo says “INCREDIBLE INDIA”? ( In which sense?)