The Delhi government on Monday faced embarrassment when it launched a 24x7 helpline for women in distress but mobile phone users could not connect to the toll-free number (181).
The "technical glitches" were set right by the evening but the service was still out of bounds for Aircel users. The government said in case of a toll-free number, it takes time for networks to get connected.
Kulanand Joshi, a senior Delhi government official and in-charge of the helpline, told HT, "Till 7 pm, about 1,300 calls were received. Most of them were test calls as people wanted to know if the service has been made operational. About 20 of them were pertaining to complaints but none of them was serious."
During the day, a long beep greeted callers on the helpline being operated from chief minister Sheila Dikshit's office. The CM had last week announced the helpline after the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old woman on December 16. The government had advertised that the helpline would be made functional from Monday morning. Officials said the helpline took time in getting functional because of glitches in the MTNL network.
"Two lines have been made functional. Two operators each will work in three shifts. If we get complaints which involve threat to life or molestation, they will be forwarded to police stations concerned. For long-term counselling, calls will be forwarded to the women's commission or legal services authorities. In matters of shelter, the women and child development department will be roped in," Joshi said.