Eyeway News Service; Mumbai; March 2005
Reliance Energy Limited (RIL) yesterday launched its power bill in Braille, for its visually impaired consumers, in Mumbai. This is the first time in India's utility company’ history that, a power bill is being made available in Braille.
The Braille bill was inaugurated in March by superstar Amitabh Bachchan at a special ceremony held at the National Association of the Blind (N.A.B.). This unique service would be available free of cost to Reliance’s customers in Mumbai city, with immediate effect. In addition to this, Reliance Energy also announced the launch of 'Prarambh', a project designed to promote Braille literacy, in collaboration with N.A.B. This long-term project is targeted to reach an estimated 35,000 visually impaired residents in Mumbai, a large number of whom do not how to read and write in Braille. (Braille was invented by a Frenchman named Louis Braille in the 19th century.)
The special aspect of this project is that trained teachers will teach Braille and basic mobility skills to the students by personally going to selected locations. The implementation of Prarambh project would be managed by N.A.B. and will be monitored periodically by Reliance Energy.
Blind customers, or their friends or relatives, can request for a Braille bill or be nominated for the Braille literacy programme, by calling the 24-hour helpline; the number is 30303030. They could also go to the website, www.rel.co.in, for details or visit any of the 52 Reliance Energy's collection centres.
Lalit Jalan, Executive Director of Reliance Energy said, "Our goal is to offer world class services that make life easier and simpler for our customers… The introduction of bills in Braille is yet another significant step that is redefining the way we look at the concept of utility marketing."
He added, "We believe that what these special citizens expect is the right of equal opportunity. And the only way to make this possible is by adopting an approach of 'inclusiveness' towards such special customers. We need to consider their needs as important as any other customer and create products and services that suit their needs."
Amitabh Bachchan, who recently performed the role of a teacher for a visually impaired girl in the movie 'Black', said, “This new initiative of Reliance Energy will go a long way in improving Braille literacy levels amongst visually impaired."