Anti-corruption hotline goes cold, govt says it needs streamlining

New Delhi | Published:January 23, 2014 4:06 am

Two weeks after launching the anti-corruption hotline, the AAP government has decided to go cold on it.

Unable to handle the “heavy call traffic”, the government has decided to take the hotline forward in a “phased manner”.
Government sources said radio jingles to promote the anti-corruption hotline have been put on hold until things are streamlined. Advertisements on billboards and bus stops panels too have been discontinued.

“The hotline has been receiving a lot of calls. The personnel manning the hotline have responded to more than 50 per cent of the calls received so far. They have to first separate genuine complaints from hoax calls and this takes time. We are trying to work everything out in a phased manner,’’ Nagendar Sharma, media advisor to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, said.

“There is a need to increase the staff strength for the helpline. Senior police officers who have experience carrying out stings are needed,’’ the official said.

Asked about why the radio jingles and outdoor advertisements have been stopped, he said “everything is being taken up in a phased manner’’.

Kejriwal had asked five senior police officers to help in the operation of the anti-corruption hotline. “The request was sent to the L-G and is being processed,’’ a senior government official said.

Kejriwal himself has been closely monitoring the progress of the hotline. “The CM is very invested in ensuring the hotline works smoothly,’’ the official added.

Retired IPS officer N Dilip Kumar, who heads the hotline, said he had assumed office only last Friday and was yet to review the operations of the hotline.

Kejriwal, while announcing an anti-corruption helpline on January 8, had said that each citizen armed with a phone could “use audio or video to perform a sting” to entrap corrupt officials.

“Today, the people of Delhi will have to cooperate with us to abolish corruption. Each citizen will be an anti-corruption inspector,’’ he had said.

On the first day, the hotline had received nearly 3,900 calls and the government said it had carried out 38 stings in response to 53 serious cases.

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