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ஞாயிறு, செப்டம்பர் 04, 2011

2000 Prank calls flood 108 helpline in Cuddalore District

             A sizeable chunk of calls made to emergency help line - 108 seem to be nuisance or abusive calls. Out of the 25,000 calls received on an average day all over the state, 500 would be either blank or abusive calls, say harried officials manning these lines.

          A large number of such calls come from children and mischief mongers. Kids just dial 108 for fun, and end up murmuring something the officials cannot interpret, whereas mischief mongers make a bomb threat call or abuse the officials for no reason.

         “The biggest irritant for the emergency service provider so far was a visually impaired caller from Cuddalore who made at least 2,000 prank calls on a single day three months ago who finally landed up behind bars,” said a senior official at the help line. “The facility is often misused to make blank calls and the time taken to respond to distress calls would be around 90 seconds. This blocks the genuine emergency calls related to road accidents, delivery, suicide attempts, heart attack and snakebites,” the official says.

         In some cases, the officials have found the parents encouraging the kids to dial the toll free number just to entertain them while dining. “We have caller identification machines attached. When the officials call back to find out who had made the call, they would either find the mobile numbers switched off or they come up with excuses,” says an official who takes the call. “When we receive such calls from the same number frequently we put them in Interactive Voice Response (IVR) where a recorded voice will answer their call,” said another senior official.

           “If the caller continues with the prank unabated, we will temporarily block calls from such number or inform the police. Pranksters should realise that their calls may take the lives of people who are in need of emergency medical help,” he added.




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