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A better Puja, beep by beep

Cellphones made a difference this Puja. Not just making calls or keying in text messages, the new-age telecom tool also served as a facilitator and a reservoir of information during the four-day festival. For the five-lakh-odd cell users in the city, it was a hi-tech Puja.

From offering virtual puja in Kalighat to cutting the long queues in front of the pandals and getting a glimpse of the goddess on cell display screens to any-time car-repair service — cells made life easier this Puja as the operators, Hutch and Airtel, matched each other beep for beep. Besides offering sops to subscribers, both players trotted out a slew of services.

“The Puja services we offered were received with a response that was both overwhelming and encouraging,” said Sunil Sood, chief operating officer, Hutch.

Among all the services, the virtual Puja — allowing people to offer puja in Kalighat by just sending the request at a particular number, with the facility of home delivery of the prasad — was a huge hit. “The number of subscribers using this service was phenomenal,” said a Hutch spokesperson.

Hutch’s other offering, in association with Banglalive.com, to its GPRS subscribers, generated massive interest. It gave users the chance to glimpse the best pandals on the cellphone’s display screen.

As per the data available with the telecom major, “50,000 hits were recorded in five days”, with requests for the Puja visuals. The downloading of Puja ring-tones and the real-help service for cars causing problems on crowded roads were the other benefits.

Besides tying up with Calcutta Police and the Metro Railway as part of its social commitment and offering 24-hour helpline facilities, Airtel also announced a number of services for its customers. Pandal-hoppers downloaded Puja logos for smooth passage to the pandals, besides using the cellphone for on-line expertise on various Puja recipes.

“This year, we launched a series of unique innovative initiatives aimed at fulfilling some social objectives, as well as providing some special benefits to existing customers and the feedback suggests that customers liked them,” said Deepak Gulati, chief executive officer, Bharti Mobitel.

An Airtel spokesperson added that SMS hits went up by over four to five times the average as the users were busy scouting for information on parking, traffic, crowd strength and participating in various on-line polls.

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