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News : 1913 Helpline Staff Replaced
Chennai, Oct 10, 2014 -- Personnel manning the Chennai Corporation helpline 1913 have reportedly coerced residents into postponing registration of complaints to prevent pile-up of petitions regarding certain departments.
The Corporation has decided to replace the entire team that mans the call centre.
The new team will be monitored by senior officials.
The scam was unearthed after officials noticed discrepancies in the data pertaining to various departments. According to sources, the helpline personnel would call the residents a few hours after receiving the complaint, requesting the person to wait for a few weeks before filing it. In some cases, they dissuaded the callers from filing complaints by citing reasons for the delay – such as work carried out by other agencies like Metrowater or CMRL.
The personnel also used to exclude such complaints from the system to avoid penal action against various officials at the zonal and ward levels.
Last year, the civic body commenced recording and voice audit of all the calls made by residents to the Corporation helpline.
The civic body may utilise the voice audit system to identify the exact number of complaints that have been ignored.
This is not the first time the system has come under the scanner for such a reason. Two years ago, four officials were suspended for their alleged failure to pass on information about civic complaints to the senior authorities.
A total of 24 personnel work at the call centre. According to recent data, most of the complaints are about malfunctioning streetlights, which are easy to rectify.
Other complaints on major civic deficiencies were ignored because some officials at the field level were "unable to fix the problem on time."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, October 10, 2014