Several senior citizens don’t register with the police helpline, Elderline (Tel No 1090).
“It takes a lot of convincing, but seniors insist they don’t want to register. This is difficult to understand,” said Police Inspector Firoz Patel, who heads Elderline. “We are trying to register as many senior citizens as possible. When Elderline started, its target was 35,000 in a short time.”
However, with more than 10 lakh seniors in Mumbai, four lakh of them living alone, only 37,023 have registered so far.
Several senior citizens said they were not convinced registering would ensure their safety. “Officers themselves say Elderline is no substitute for police protection. If the helpline cannot keep us safe, why should I become a member?” said Atul Nadkarni (65), a retired teacher who lives in Andheri (West).
“I feel unsafe disclosing my details even to the police. When I have a neighbourhood watchdog squad to take care of me, why should I rely on policemen who are kilometres away,” asked Krishna Sachdeva (70), a Malad resident.
Some seniors said even if they register, the police would react only after a crime is committed. “The helpline can’t prevent a crime,” said B. Venigopal (67), of Parel.