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Dial 100 for grocery, repairs

With the social fabric thinning in the metropolis, the friendly neighbourhood policeman comes to the rescue of Delhi's senior citizens, reports Vijaita Singh.

delhi Updated: Jun 09, 2008 00:18 IST
Vijaita Singh

Where do the city’s senior citizens abandoned by family look, to address security concerns, resolve disputes, even fulfil day-to-day needs? With the social fabric thinning in the metropolis, the friendly neighbourhood policeman comes to the rescue.

Security concerns and family feuds are only a few of the numerous issues that rattle the city’s elderly. In the absence of family support, some senior citizens dial the Police Control Room (PCR) simply to run errands like fetching atta from a grocery store or repair leaking pipes.

“Recently, I called up the police because somebody stole water from my friend’s tank. These may sound like small things to others, but mean a lot to those who have no support from their children,” says V. N. Bali of Surajmal Vihar.

There are about 7,338 elderly registered with the Senior Citizen Security Cell of Delhi Police. Of these, 13 are aged above 96.

Police say a large number of PCR calls from the elderly are mundane. “A senior citizen who lives in West Delhi’s Subhash Nagar calls the police every day saying someone is knocking at his door and trying to enter his house forcibly. We try to convince the elderly that these are no cognizable offences. But we understand that they turn to us in desperation. So, we help them as much as possible,” said Kewal Singh, ACP (Police Headquarters).

Singh says the police have to take these calls seriously since they concern the most vulnerable section of the society. On an average, the PCR receives 6,000 calls from the elderly in a year. Over 40 per cent of these are linked with family disputes. “About 13 per cent pertain to harassment and threats. Fights with neighbours constitute nine per cent of the complaints and disputes with tenants make up for five per cent of the calls,” says Singh.