Mumbai: At least 40 percent calls received on the national Railway Protection Force (RPF) helpline number 182 of Central Railway have turnout to be irrelevant. Officials operating the helpline number said that they were receiving abusive calls and some also seek information on gas cylinder delivery.
Many of the callers have also sought for communication in Marathi which has put the RPF staffers operating the helpline in a limbo as most of them lack regional language skills.
“We receive at least 150 calls on a single day. Out of these, at least 50 calls are irrelevant and not railway related. We always respond to such callers in a polite manner and educate them about the helpline number. Considering the fact that there are only women staffers at the helpline centre, at times it becomes difficult for them to respond to abusive callers,” said the official.
The helpline number 182 was formed in 2014 exclusively to help the passengers in trouble. There are at least six RPF staffers to operate at the helpline centre. “These RPF staffers work in three shifts and on an eight-hour basis,” said a senior RPF official.
The RPF helpline number of the Central Railway is based at Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT). The staffers working there have also extended their help to commuter calls received from outside their jurisdiction. On Friday, a staffer at the helpline centre received a call from a man in Bangalore who shared his ordeal about not been able to get in touch with his son who was travelling on a long-distance train.
“We immediately contacted the Southern Western Railway (SWR) and informed the concerned RPF to check the train and coach number in order to attend the concerned person. The RPF swift into action and was able to attend the coach to find the person. The person’s battery of the cell phone had drained and we asked him to call up his father once he reaches his destination,” said the official.
Calls related to lost bag, medical aid to commuter, stone pelting on motorman are attended by the staffers at the helpline centre. “In 2017, we received at least 2184 number of calls related to problems in coaches reserved for disabled commuters. At least 3736 calls related to problems faced by women commuters and remaining 10085 calls were general calls,” added the official.
At times, the RPF staffers at the helpline centre also face problems in attending to two calls at the same station. “Due to lack of RPF strength at a station, there is difficulty in attending to two cases related to lost bag/purse by a commuter at the same station. Commuters tend to go nervous and abuse us if we do not attend them at the particular station. We accept everything as it is our duty to help the passengers in distress,” said the official.