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GRP helpline at Churchgate out of reach due to poor network coverage

After the control room shifted from Wadi Bunder to Churchgate, passengers have been complaining that the number 9833331111 is unreachable; officials blame the network coverage of the cellular operator

If you’ve been trying to reach the Government Railway Police (GRP) helpline number 9833331111 and have been unsuccessful in your attempts, you’re not the only one.

The control room at Wadi Bunder used to receive 900 calls a day on an average. This number has reduced to 300. File pic
The control room at Wadi Bunder used to receive 900 calls a day on an average. This number has reduced to 300. File pic

Ever since the GRP control room shifted to Churchgate from Wadi Bunder, the problem has been persistent due to the poor network coverage by the cellular operator Vodafone.

After they moved into their new office on January 3 this year, GRP officials reported that the number of calls has dropped to one-third of what it used to be — from 900 calls per day, the number has reduced to 300.

The number was launched on November 8, 2008 by Home Minister RR Patil to provide help to passengers travelling in local trains. “This is a serious concern. This number is the best emergency tool for commuters in local trains. But due to poor coverage by Vodafone, people are unable to reach us,” said a GRP official.

Often used
In the year 2013, the number received approximately 20,000 calls, which included calls for articles left in the train, suspicious bags, helping injured persons, illegal travel in coaches for the handicapped, etc.

Ragini D’souza, who was travelling from Elphistone road to Malad late in the night, recalled, “I was alone in the ladies’ compartment and a drug addict entered. I tried calling the GRP number, but couldn’t get through to them. I had to shift to the general compartment at the very next station.”

Even when people do get connected, staffers have to shouting their throats hoarse in order to be audible at the other end. “We have to literally scream while talking to passengers in need of help, as they can’t hear our voices.

Our throats have gone dry,” added the official. Prakash Jadhav, senior Inspector (GRP), helpline, said, “We are in talks with Vodafone to try and solve the network issue soon.”

Vodafone says
A spokesperson for the company told MiD DAY, “The railway helpline is an important tool for customers, and Vodafone has been treating the matter with the utmost priority, working closely with the Railway authorities.

We have already requested for permission from the railway authorities for an exclusive solution and are awaiting approval. Vodafone will continue to pursue the permission. At the moment, we have installed a repeater solution and augmented the coverage to resolve the matter.”

81 lakh
Number of passengers who use local trains every day

20,000
Number of calls the GRP helpline received in 2013

900
Number of calls received per day at the Wadi Bunder office

300
Number of calls received per day at the Churchgate office

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