News : Launched in 2009, Few Know of Helpline for Senior Citizens
Ludhiana, April 22, 2014 -- Almost five years after it was launched, the helpline service introduced by the police department to cater to the needs of senior citizens in the city only manages to get three calls a day on an average. What's more, not many senior citizen know about it.
"A helpline number? For senior citizens? When will it be launched?" asked J Vashisht, a senior citizen based in an old age home in Sarabha Nagar. The police department launched the helpline service, 1090, in 2009 to help senior citizens in times of need. Despite being around for years, many senior citizens are not aware of its existence.
That's not all. The few senior citizens who have tried the number complained of delayed response or no response. "I was made to wait more than 30 minutes. They said they tried to contact officials from the division my area falls in. I am an old man and I stay alone. They should have called the PCR immediately and helped me", said a senior citizen who did not wish to be named.
When the helpline was to be launched, the divisions were asked to prepare a list of all senior citizens living in the city, especially those living alone. Senior citizens have been an easy target for burglars and snatchers owing to their old age and helplessness.
As people grow older, their mobility is reduced, said K K Dhir, a senior citizen. "What do you mean by a helpline service? It means immediate relief or response to the victim. When an old man calls a helpline, its clear he's got no one to reach out to. Therefore, it's their responsibility to cater to him immediately. I think its time we start looking for options", he said.
Deputy commissioner of police Harsh Bansal said that though the service has been functional all these years, people know little about it.
"We don't get many calls on the number and people prefer calling 100. As for people staying alone, we try to cover them by PCR patrolling instead of depending on these helpline numbers".
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2014