More than 40% of the calls made to the police emergency numbers - 100 or 1090 (help line for women, elders or children) - do not go through because the calls drop. This is because the telephone exchange at the police control room is an analog exchange, using outdated technology.
But all this is set to change soon, as the analog exchange will soon be replaced with a new state-of-the-art digital exchange.
On an average, 22,000 calls are made to the control room every day. During an agitation, natural disaster or a terror strike, this number goes up phenomenally.
"Call drops are not only an embarrassment for us, but a matter of concern too. Especially because people dial these numbers while in distress, seeking assistance," said Mumbai police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli. "At present, the rate of calls falling is more than 40%. Once the digital exchange in operation, this rate will be reduced to 5% or less," he said.
Deputy commissioner of police (DCP), wireless, BM Yadav, agreed. "The old server is not capable of handling the present volume of traffic," Yadav, who has a mechanical engineering degree, told HT. The existing analog exchange (server) was set up in 2003-04 with a memory of just 512 megabytes. "As the memory is low, it cannot hold waiting calls, and calls drop abruptly," he added.
Yadav said, "The new server's memory should be the latest available in the market." The digital server will not only enhance the duration for waiting calls, but improve voice clarity too. The sleek digital exchange also has the advantage of portability. "When the control room is shifted to the proposed annexe building, there will be no problem shifting the exchange," Yadav said.
To enhance the reception base of the control room, the police plan to add one more PRI (Primary Rate Interface) line to the existing one. Each PRI line has 30 channels. Simplified, 30 calls can be made to the same number (100) on one connection (line). To match the enhanced reception, plans are afoot to increase the staff attending to the emergency lines from the existing 20 (round the clock in shifts) to 60 at the new control room, Yadav added.