The phones have been ringing off the hook ever since the Railway Protection Force (RPF) introduced 1311 as its helpline for women. The tremendous response should have buoyed the officials, but that isn’t the case. In fact, RPF personnel are complaining because 90 per cent of the calls are undesirable.
According to Western Railway (WR) officials, they introduced the helpline exclusively for women after the December 16 Delhi gang rape case, with the intention to assist the 10 lakh female commuters on the network every day. “We are amazed to see the number of calls the control room is receiving daily.
The staffers are complaining that they are tired of attending to superfluous calls,” said a senior RPF official from WR. In 2013, the helpline 1311 has received over 1,100 calls out of these only 230 were genuine. The RPF administration is now requesting passengers to cooperate with it and not to make unnecessary calls on such a helpline intended entirely for safety and security of women.
1311 was introduced in December 2012. “After the Delhi gang rape case and other such episodes, we felt the need for a helpline number to facilitate female passengers. But by calling the number unnecessarily, people are depriving genuine callers from reaching us,” added another senior WR official.
The unwanted calls received on the number are usually complaints about dirty fans, broken windows etc. Interestingly, several calls have been registered as people having dialled the wrong number. If RPF personnel are to be believed, many men call up the number just to hear a female voice.
The WR administration has also tried to raise awareness by deploying a team of five female personnel in the ladies coaches of local trains during both peak and non-peak hours. The squad has so far been able to communicate with about 40,000 passengers. It has also advised female travellers to not tolerate any untoward incident, or any man entering their compartment be it a hawker or a beggar and not hesitate in calling 1311. The helpline is operational 24X7.
Number of calls the helpline received this year
Number of genuine calls