It’s an emergency: Police helpline ‘100’ needs help in Punjab | punjab | Hindustan Times
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It’s an emergency: Police helpline ‘100’ needs help in Punjab

Private company HCL was awarded the contract for maintaining the ‘100’ services in Punjab, but it has left the project as the government did not pay for the last two years.

punjab Updated: Jul 09, 2017 10:19 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
(HT Representative Image)

The technology firm that managed police helpline ‘100’ in Punjab has left after two years of non-payment, and a new annual maintenance contract (AMC) has not been signed. So, if you’re looking for help, don’t expect too much from ‘100’.

It is now being managed on the district level with some unofficial help from state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). At places, it just won’t connect, and at other places there is a waiting queue for 10 to 15 minutes.

Sources in the police department said private company HCL was awarded the contract for maintaining the ‘100’ services in Punjab, but it has left the project as the government did not pay for the last two years. There is now no firm ready for a new AMC.

A senior police officer, who did not want to be named, said that many senior superintendents of police and commissioners of police have repeatedly written to the headquarters about the problems that citizens are facing in getting emergency services, but nothing has been done.

Sources said that since the hiring of a new company has to be done by the state government through the home department, repeated letters by the police HQ to home department have also failed to bear fruit.

“As far as I remember, at least 10 letters have been written by the district police to address the issue as urgently as possible,” said an SSP from the Malwa region.

Here’s an example of how that plays out on the ground.

After her gold chain was snatched outside the Jalandhar bus stand, a city resident, Savina Devi, dialled 100 to give information to the police. She was in the queue for nearly 15 minutes but did not get through. Eventually, her husband reached the spot and they reported the matter by visiting the police post nearby. Reports from Ludhiana, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Gurdaspur corroborate the problem.

Additional director general of police (ADGP), law and order, Ashish Chaudhary, when contacted, admitted to the problem and advocated immediate attention. “The contract of the company ended months ago and we are working on the new system that would make this emergency service more effective,” he added.

A Jalandhar-based lawyer, Harpreet Singh, who has taken up the issue by writing letters to the chief minister’s office, said it’s astonishing that the state government is claiming to improve the law and order but has not paid attention to the helpline. “They have failed to curb crime on the one hand, and have snatched the first service available to a common citizen on the other hand,” he said.