DGP tells how Punjab Police is improving the system to tackle COVID-19 situation

Chandigarh, March 28, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)

The Punjab Police on Saturday further scaled up its citizen support systems, including the 112 helpline and supply of essentials, to cope with the emergency situation arising out of the imposition of curfew/lockdown in the state in the light of COVID-19 crisis.

To further improve its response time and cope with the increased pressure on 112 helpline, the Punjab Police today augmented the capacity of the 112 call centre by adding 11 workstations, raising its capacity to 53. A total of 159 personnel are manning the stations, working in three shifts, according to DGP Dinkar Gupta.

Operators from Punjab Police Saanjh Kendras and private BPOs have been roped in and were on Friday provided training to join the 112 workforce, said the DGP. The workstations were earlier, on Thursday, increased from 32 to 42.

The Punjab Government is also in talks with a private BPO firm for hiring a ready/functional 100-operator station to augment/supplement the capacity of 112, disclosed the DGP, adding that they will join the existing workforce soon.

According to Gupta, while in normal times, the number of calls received on DIAL 112 was around 4000-5000, this has gone up to over 17000 in the past few days. Of these, around 60% are related to COVID-19 related issues, including provision of essential commodities, emergency medical conditions & curfew related issues, curfew/lockdown, ambulance service, suspected individuals, among others.

The callers are directed to District Control Rooms or 104/108 for any health related queries, Ambulance etc. Those related to provision of medicines, groceries and other essential commodities are provided with the phone number of the District War Rooms set up by Deputy Commissioners, concerned official or local vendors as per requirements.

For further streamlining the system, the Community Policing wing of Punjab Police has set up Saanjh Help Desks at all District Control Rooms. All the calls that are forwarded from 112 Helpline to Districts are also taken up by these helpdesks, and are proactively followed up with the caller until the issue is resolved.

In liaison with the local PCR & SHO, they are also ensuring that the essential goods and medicines are delivered to needy. They also liaison with other departments, like Health, Food supply, as and when required, said the DGP.

The system helped the 55 families migrant labourers from Bihar, residing in Ludhiana, get dry rations on Friday, said the DGP. In Raja Sansi (Amritsar), groceries were provided to 30-35 families by the SHO in coordination with the local Gurudwara, while in Muchal village in Amritsar (Rural), a woman who had recently delivered a baby was rushed to hospital in distress. The Mohali police also responded to similar calls to provide Dry Ration to 500 families & one cooked meal for immediate consumption on Friday.

The Punjab Police has also stepped up its relief operations and supplied 223605 packets today – an increase of 19% from Friday. In the last three days, a total of 542000 units of food have been distributed among 27 districts.

In another initiative, ADGP Intelligence has compiled a detailed list of the slums in the state to enable due care for the slum dwellers in these tough times, according to the DGP.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police has also taken several measures to manage crowds arriving at the Mandis after Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s directed that harvesting and marketing of horticulture products be permitted in a controlled manner.

Besides setting up of barricades and closure of small gaps in compounds walls, separate areas have been designated for sale of tomato, peas and cauliflower, with onion and potato being sold at a different place.

The Mandis have been divided into sectors, with one person assigned one sector. Besides, rehris entering the market will get only one hour to make purchases, as per the systems put in place by the police. While the Mandis will open for sale at 5 a.m on Sunday and Monday, from Tuesday onwards they will commence sale at 8:00 am.

Gupta said that on the directions of Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Sinfh, he had appointed officers of the rank of IG, DIG and AIG as state Level Police Coordinators, and ADGPs as State Level Police Supervisory Officers for coordinating various curfew related tasks, such as (i) management of Inter-State movement of Goods at Shambu on NH-1 (Punjab-Haryana Border) (ii) Supply chain management and Goods movement within the State (iii) Telecom & Internet Services (iv) Distribution of Foodstuff & essential Commodities including LPG, Petrol, (v) Media, including TV Channels and Cable Network (vi) Industry, Banks, ATMs, Insurance, (vii) CURFEW e-Pass (viii) Health & Medical Services (ix) Law & Order (x) Student & Migrant welfare. These officers would ensure proper coordination with their counterparts in other States as well as with civil and police officers working in different districts of the State, he said.

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