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Accountability of our emergency helplines

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Governance

Here's my experience with the Police emergency phone number, 100, that makes me pray that nobody ever has any emergency.



Last Saturday, I was returning by train from Thanjavur. While the train was waiting for a clearance to enter the railway station, I heard some commotion outside. Two guys, at least one of them very drunk, were fighting. The inebriated one was lying on the tracks (and hardly moving) and the other man was beating him up. This was at 4 AM and it was still pretty dark. Sensing danger to their lives if a train happened to approach on that track the passengers from my coach urged them to move away from the rails. Since they didn't pay heed, I decided to call the police helpline 100.



My first reaction when the lady answered the phone was surprise at the complete lack of urgency in her tone and voice. I explained the situation to her, and she asked me to call the railway police. There was no answer from that number so I dialed 100 again and got to speak to the same lady. This time she asked me to call the general railway helpline 197!



Since the train was parked at a place very close to my house, I asked her to put me in touch with the Hoysala that patrols that area. She said she can't do that. Meanwhile her attitude was drifting slowly from being cavalier to getting irritated. I finally gave up when my train started to move and the two men had decided to take the fight off the tracks.



Since this was not a personal emergency for me, I could stay unaffected, but I shudder to think of being given another number to contact when I call a helpline. Is there a case for a 911-like service for India too? Is there one already that I'm unaware of?



Also, is there a way a citizen can hold the existing service accountable?



Comments

Bheema.Upadhyaya's picture

There is nothing called emergency here

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104 users have liked.

 Sad to say this. But I have not seen anything called emergency or emergency situation handling mechanism.  Neither system not people care about it. Many times both system and people helpless in handling emergency situation due to each other. 

Few observations:

1) Its very common in Bangalore or any other city to see an ambulance sironing in a traffic jam. Neither response system nor people can help. Sorry, patient can survive only if he is lucky.

2) The situation you faced is common. Any helpline you call, police or any other dept, all they do is just to direct you to another number(many times another common dumb number). For them , call is "attended". 

3) I dont think emergency number 100 has integrated with fire,ambulance and crane/lifting service. You should call 100,101 and 108 separately. By the time you finish calling all these, I think emergency situation might have gone worst.

4) Anyway, all of us know there is no publicly  tracking system nor any published SLAs. Nor feedback system for these numbers. 

So let us pray god to help all people who is going to face emergency(include me too). And we will relax in our cars when an ambulance is "crying" behind us :(, as we can not help.

 

" My mantra to public bodies=> Enable->Educate->Enforce. Where does  DDC  fit?"
silkboard's picture

does 100 work reliably?

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121 users have liked.

Heard this in past as well, that 100 does not work reliably on all mobile phone networks. Tried yesterday near HAL airport, didn't work for me.

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