Of the three helplines run by the Chandigarh Police, apart from emergency number 100, it is the traffic helpline 1073 which is the most popular. This year, it received as many as 8,796 calls till June.
An idea of its increasing popularity can be had from the fact that it received 8,841 calls last year. In 2012, the number of calls was 6,014.
“Most of the calls which we receive are of dysfunctional traffic lights and wrongly parked cars. We also get accident calls but usually in cases of accident, people prefer calling the number 100,” said an official.
In cases of dysfunctional traffic lights, the helpline reports the matter to the Engineering Department. In cases of wrongly parked cars, a team is despatched to the spot which tows away the offending vehicle and when this is not possible, the vehicle is challaned.
The helpline also gets calls for help in cases of vehicle break-down. “We send a recovery vehicle to the spot but if a there is a VIP movement in the city, we give the caller the number of a private recovery service,” the official added.
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The woman and child support helpline 1091 is a distant second in popularity. This year, it received about 1,300 till June. The maximum calls were about domestic violence. These led to registration of 59 cases under Section 498-A (cruelty by husband and in-laws) by the Crime Against Women cell.
In the last two years, complaints of abusive and obscene calls or messages have also started coming.
The helpline is being handled by officials of CAW. An official said, “Usually, when we receive a call complaining about domestic violence, we ask the woman if she needs counselling or that the police should visit her residence. If she agrees, a team is sent, or she and her husband and relatives are summoned by CAW.”
In a case where a woman reports of harassment on the phone, the officials ask her to draft a complaint and submit it on the public window or approach the cyber crime cell.
In 2011, CAW officials received 1,245 calls and 60 cases were registered. The number rose to 1,443 calls in 2012 and 76 cases were registered. In 2013, 1,745 calls were received and 95 cases registered.
Very few calls are received at the senior citizen’s helpline 1090. The number was 20 in 2012, 70 in 2013, and only 15 till June this year. Police said that most of the calls are for assistance. “Sometimes, they call to report electricity problems or that they want their gas cylinders to the lifted to some floor,” said an official.