Unrelated calls keep 181 busy, govt plans campaign to create awareness

Initial evaluation of helpline today, total review will be completed within fortnight.

After receiving several unrelated calls on the four-day-old 181 number — meant exclusively for women in distress — the Delhi government is contemplating an awareness campaign through advertisements to educate people about the purpose of the helpline.

Data on Thursday showed that while most calls to the number were still out of curiosity, many callers believed that it was a general government helpline and only a few were actual complaints.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's additional secretary Kulanand Joshi, who oversees the helpine, said on Thursday that the government plans to have a city-wide awareness campaign through the media. The campaign is likely to start within a week. "We want to educate the people about what this helpline is actually meant for. Right now, many callers believe it is a general helpline and call to complain about their personal problems like court cases, gas and electricity connections," Joshi said.

While an initial evaluation of the helpline is slated for Friday, the government plans a total review within a fortnight. "Only two lines are open now and we plan to start a third line shortly. We will review the entire system after gathering data over the next 15 days to determine improvements to the system," Joshi said. He added that the helpline had attended a few serious calls, which had been duly forwarded to the police. "The police have taken action following our message," Joshi said.

According to Joshi, unrelated calls were also dealt with patiently. "Calls to the helpline are almost continuous and we are happy with the response. When a call not related to a woman in distress is made, the operator explains the objectives of the helpline and directs the caller to relevant department," Joshi said.

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