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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Engineers set up toll-free helpline

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, June 14, 2013
First Published: 14:54 IST(14/6/2013) | Last Updated: 14:57 IST(14/6/2013)

A group of six engineers from various cities of the state have come up with a toll free helpline number for assistance to the common man.

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The 24x7 helpline-18002003886--which is currently functional in Lucknow and Kanpur, provides information about railways, results, movies and important emergency contact numbers. It also provides assistance in finding flights, hotels and share market and is useful when one has no access to the Internet.

“Actually, it is for those who do not have Internet in the pocket. For now, it is functional in Kanpur and Lucknow. Depending on the response, we plan to expand it across the state,” said Shivendu Raj, a native of Patna in Bihar and one of the six software engineers from PSIT, Kanpur who developed the helpline.

The helpline is unique in the sense that it functions solely by the efforts of the engineers in the making. In fact, all of them have left their jobs, for now, to keep their initiative ticking.“All of us had lucrative jobs. But we prefer to work for the helpline for now. We will decide about jobs in future,” Shivendra Pandey, a native of Gorakhpur said.

After a response of more than 20,000 calls, since it was set up in Kanpur in April this year, the group decided to replicate it in Lucknow. Given the unexpected response, the youths at one point of time even decided to put it on hold for some time.“But people wanted us to run it. We even thought of giving it to the government. But our elders suggested that it would meet the same fate as other government helplines,” Pandey added.

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