Of the 2,004 calls on Monday, 195 callers enquired about oxygen cylinder refilling or procurement.(HT Photo )
Of the 2,004 calls on Monday, 195 callers enquired about oxygen cylinder refilling or procurement.(HT Photo )

Govt strengthens 1031 helpline with more staff

Though this number was already in use, the services associated with it have been increased, officials said.
By Sweta Goswami, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 12, 2021 03:33 AM IST

The Delhi government has carried out a revamp of its Covid-19 grievance redressal system, and released a centralised helpline number - 1031 - for those in need of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and medicines, among other things.

Though this number was already in use, the services associated with it have been increased, officials said.

“Over the last one year of the pandemic, there were more than 20 government helpline numbers issued from time to time. Instead of releasing a new number, it was decided to strengthen the number 1031, publicise it, and ensure no call goes unattended,” said a senior government official who asked not to be named.

On Monday, the Delhi government doubled the number of lines on the helpline from 100 to 200, and increased the call centre executives running these lines from 30 to 60.

To ensure all calls are answered and the correct information is disseminated, the Delhi government has also deployed senior officers at the call centre located in Noida.

The officers have been stationed in three shifts to ensure round-the-clock monitoring.

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While officials did not detail the average number of calls the helpline received earlier, they said the revamp paid off almost instantly as the helpline received 2,004 calls on Monday.

“Some people had stopped calling at this number because it was hard to get through. So, this is the highest number of calls 1031 has received in recent times,” a second official said.

Of the 2,004 calls, 721 were related to Covid-19 vaccination, 225 were for hospital bed availability, 195 callers enquired about oxygen cylinder refilling or procurement, 135 sought tele-consultation with doctors, 93 were for last rites of deceased patients, and about 635 fell in the “others” category.

Apart from 1031, people can also directly call the control rooms of the 11 districts of Delhi. Delhi government’s ambulance services can availed by dialling 102 or 1099, and the authorities have also set up a dedicated helpline -- 011-22304568 -- for pregnant and lactating women suffering from Covid-19.

“The entire staff has been trained and shifts of eight hours each have been scheduled for 24x7 operation. A number of calls also come from people seeking doctors for medical advice. For that, we have sourced the time table of government doctors for tele-consultation from each district and we direct the caller directly to these doctors. Our new team is fully geared up and we hope that no caller is dissatisfied with the call experience,” said the first officer quote above.

Inside the privately owned call centre in Noida, each executive has been given a common set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) to answer callers.

“The FAQ list is constantly evolving, we are adding new things and making it more relevant as more calls come in. If some information is sought which is not in the FAQ, then our officers stationed there directly have been given the right to call the nodal officer concerned and address the grievance,” the official said, explaining the evolving process to improve grievance redressal.

Over the past few weeks, especially between April 18 and May 5, when Covid-19 cases had peaked in the city and people were running from pillar to post for oxygen beds and cylinders, HT had repeatedly pointed out the need for a helpline number and how the government had several numbers which were either not publicised or were unresponsive.

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