Three of four calls out of more than 12.3 lakh phone calls received on Telangana Police’s emergency number — 100 — between March 21, a day before Janata Curfew, and April 6 were either bogus or fake calls, “which kept the system choked”, according to the officer in charge of the state’s main control room at Kompally, on Hyderabad’s outskirts.
Out of 12,30,997 calls received from March 21 until April 6 evening, only 2,66,550 were genuine calls, as the callers followed the interactive voice response (IVR) instructions and dialled ‘1’ to talk to the dispatcher, Inspector Chandrashekar Reddy, in-charge of the police control room (PCR), said.
“So 9,64,447 were bogus or fake calls, which kept the system choked,” Reddy said. “As soon as the IVR got activated, these callers disconnected — they must have called just to see whether it was working, or some people or children dialled it — out of boredom or as a prank.”
Ever since the lockdown started, “we have received lakhs of non-emergency-related calls, prank calls, and blank calls”, Deputy SP (IT Cell) of Telangana Police, Shrinath Reddy, said.
Officials said each prank/silent/blank call takes up between 30 and 40 seconds, sending a genuine emergency caller into waiting, and delays response.
“If blank calls come from the same number on 10 occasions in a day, the server automatically blocks that number, Reddy said. He said at least 250 such numbers are blocked each day.
The control room has 35 members who take calls dialled to 100.
Officials said that out of 2,66,550 genuine calls, 2,64,150 needed intervention from the dispatcher; in 75,884 cases the dispatcher helped send an ambulance, or in extreme emergency cases such as a delivery or a heart attack, a police vehicle was sent to take the person to the nearest hospital.
Control room in-charge Reddy said: “Out of 2,66,550 calls that came through IVR, 84,463 were by pranksters or by children, and people who were out to do some mischief. The callers remained silent when the dispatcher took the call…we are forced to disconnect such calls.”
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