Take action

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 January, 2005, 12:00am

Sai Kung resident L. Runciman wrote to complain about constant and long periods of water supply disruption in her neighbourhood.

'Can the Water Supplies Department please explain why the fresh water supply to Che Keng Tuk and the nearby vicinity is suspended without prior notice every few weeks, and virtually each time for long periods of up to 10 hours?' she said.

'Offhand, I can count three water suspensions in the past three weeks alone: January 9, about 10am-3pm; New Year's Day, about 9am-4pm; December 15-16, 2004, about 9pm-6.30am.

'In the past seven months that we have lived in Sai Kung, we have experienced a water suspension virtually once every month. Other than those on January 1 and January 9, all the suspensions have lasted about nine to 10 hours, usually from about 9pm until 6.30am the next morning.

'It's time the department explained the reasons for the frequent suspensions and what it is going to do to rectify the situation.'

The Water Supplies Department said the problem was mainly caused by an old faulty supply pipe, which would take two years to replace.

'The supply suspensions were caused by bursts/leaks of an aged supply main along Hiram's Highway supplying water to the Che Keng Tuk area,' a senior department engineer said.

'The Department is going to replace 3km of the aged main soon. We have applied to the Highways Department for an excavation permit and work is expected to commence after the Lunar New Year holiday.

As we have to carry out the water main replacement work section by section owing to traffic restrictions - the highway goes in both directions but has only one lane - we estimate that it will take two years to complete the work.'

Reader Jeffery Colin said he had a bad airport experience with Air India staff at Chek Lap Kok on December 27, even though he was not travelling with the airline.

'On that day, I was escorting someone to board an Air India flight. The moment we arrived at the gate, one of the airline staff told me that we were the last passengers.

'I gently told her that I was flying with another airline. I turned back and was ready to go.

'Suddenly, a female staff member, the only one who was wearing a traditional Indian dress uniform, shouted at me: 'You're delaying my flight'.

'I looked at the television screen where they have the Air India logo; it showed the time was 17.16, the flight was 17.30.

'From what I understand, at least for my flight, is that I have to be at the gate 10 minutes before departure. So, I told her: 'The first thing is it's not me who delayed your flight, and the second is we were here more than 10 minutes before departure.'

'She shouted more loudly at me: 'Twenty minutes, we close the gate 20 minutes before departure.'

'So, I told her from what I understand it is 10 minutes. She shouted even louder with her finger pointed at my nose and said: 'You delay my flight, now you shut up and get out of here.'

'I was extremely surprised to hear that from an airline staff member who was wearing her uniform, so I asked for her name. Then she said: 'Why should I tell you my name, you are not my passenger ... I don't need to give you any customer service, you shut up and get out, this is my gate ... If you don't get out of here, I will call security.'

'Is it so hard to find someone who has some basic knowledge of customer service?'

The airline's customer relations manager and airport manager, S.G. Gomes, said she was the person involved and disputed Mr Colin's account, saying it was he who first used abusive language.

'The complainant came to the gate at which our flight was boarding, along with another individual.

'We thought both of them were to board our flight, but later realised that only one of them was our passenger. Since the complainant did not have a boarding card, nor did he display any other permit, we asked him who he was and what he was doing at our gate.

'He informed us that he had come to drop off his friend. When we asked him why his friend had come late to the gate he informed us that the counter staff had informed them to be at the gate 10 minutes before departure.

' It was brought to his notice that 20 minutes was the stipulated time, not only by our airline, but by the Airport Authority itself.

'The complainant then started shouting and using abusive language, which will be vouched for by my other colleagues, as well as by the personnel of our handling agents, who were present at the scene. Since he was making a nuisance of himself, he was told that we would call airport security. He in turn, threatened to call the police.'

Mrs Gomes said the incident ended when Mr Colin left the scene.