Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials on the Central Railway decided to replace the male attendants on the national helpline with 30 trained women constables after senior officials monitoring the ‘182’ helpline spotted instances of male attendants leaving already-hassled callers even more troubled.
Officials said the men engaged in more ‘reaction’ than ‘action’. With the helpline is struggling to make a mark, senior officials said the male personnel’s unwarranted machismo could be one of the reasons.
“There were instances of male personnel overreacting or retorting rudely to distressed callers. Since the ‘182’ helpline was launched to streamline RPF services, we wanted traffic from other helplines diverted here and thought of rectifying this,” said Sachin Bhalode, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF (CR).
The helpline receives around 100 calls a day. Only a quarter of these turn out to be relevant, which the RPF calls ‘cognisable’ calls. The helpline is GPS-based, so calls can be diverted to the nearest railway police control room.
It operates in three shifts, including the night and requires 10 personnel, including two women constables, to man the traffic. In the two morning shifts, there are four women constables each. The remaining 20 women are still being trained by the nonprofit organisation Akshara, to familiarise them with the type of complaints they will receive.
“The RPF is a paramilitary force and hence the legal aspects are important. We trained them to be patient and to provide the best possible help to callers,” said Snehal Velkar from Akshara.To enhance the women’s speaking skills, the RPF has roped in a professional agency that trains BPO employees. “We want the helpline attendants to be approachable,” added Bhalode.
How to contact the railway police
In case of distress, you can call the Government railway police on their helpline, 9833331111, the railway protection force on 182/1275/1311 or the Mumbai police control on 100.
You can telephone the GRP commissioner at 022-23759251 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can upload your complaints to www.facebook.com/mumbairailwaypolice
Women can send their complaints by WhatsApp to 9833312222
Complaints can also be lodged via the ‘Pratisaad’ link at helpline.mumbairlypolice.gov.in.in