India vs Bangladesh, tour diary: Across border, little checks, few balances

Almost all network operators here have rolled out plans where you can access certain websites free of cost.

Written by Daksh Panwar | Updated: June 14, 2015 9:54:19 am

As I accessed Twitter to tweet a few pictures and match updates from Fatullah on Day 1, I noticed a message that flashed on the screen of my phone. “Twitter is free on Banglalink.” Banglalink being my mobile network operator here. Having come from India at a time when there is a net-neutrality debate raging on, the antenna goes up immediately. Turns out, not only there is no net neutrality here, it’s not even an issue.

Almost all network operators here have rolled out plans where you can access certain websites free of any cost. Surprisingly companies such as Twitter, which are championing net neutrality in many other countries, are willing participants here. Interestingly, Twitter became free on Banglalink last month, a day after Facebook launched Internet.Org with another network operator Rubi.

Facebook being widely popular here and Twitter having limited penetration, it’s hardly a surprise the latter appears to have put business and survival first ahead of principles. As the saying goes: “I won’t die for my principles. What if I am wrong?”

Instant noodles
There is another issue that is a rage in India, one that could have spilled over and triggered a debate here as well, but didn’t: Maggi. You can find it on the shelf, buy it and eat it. And it’s perfectly legitimate. In the Saturday edition of newspapers here, Nestle Bangladesh published a huge ad “wishing to thank all it consumers for their continued trust” in the company. (Note that it didn’t say “continued trust in the product”. Maybe, they aren’t too sure of it themselves). It further said, “Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution…found that Maggi instant noodles are safe for consumption.” And then proceeded to put an * after the proclamation. And what does the asterisk say? Source: Various news report. Come to think of it, they are citing news reports as proof rather than seeking a clean chit from the regulating agency itself! If the idea was to clear any air about Maggi, this ad fails miserably. In fact, reading the fine print and between the lines leaves you all the more confused, even cynical. You think twice, despite a rainy weather which triggers an intense craving for it.

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