Udupi, May 12, 2015: Senior citizen’s helpline, which started six months back, had got only 116 calls so far. Among these, 102 were seeking help and 14 to submit complaints. The complaints and other calls include the senior citizens who were abandoned by their children and those who were cheated by private parties. Due to lack of awareness not many people know about the helpline and the helpline is not getting enough calls as expected.
Activists’s role : Moreover, there are a large number of non-government organisations which are helping the needy senior citizens in the district. The senior citizens, who have been encountering various problems are contacting these NGO, to find solutions and to get required information. The NGOs also help them out in submitting compliants. This is said to be the main reason for the few calls to the helpline.
Following a long pending demand for a helpline for senior citizen, the department for the empowerment of disabled and senior citizens has sanctioned a helpline centre to the district.
The helpline unit was started on October 1, 2014 and the senior citizens’ helpline became operational from November 1, 2014. A women’s organisation has been managing the centre and there are three counselors, one convener, one female and one male constable. Also, there is a D group staff. District officer for disabled welfare M Niranjan Bhat said the centre has been opened for the cause of senior citizens. The staff have been responding to the problems of senior citizens.
At present, the toll fee number 1090 is allotted. The number, if contacted will connect the caller to the centre in Bengaluru, and after knowing the place of the caller, the call will be connected to the centre in the respective region.
He said efforts are being done to procure a separate toll free number for Udupi district, which will enable direct contact, he added. There were complaints that calls from mobile phones do not reach 1090 telephone. The Toll free number of Senior citizen helpline is 1090. Also, 0820 253 6394 could also be contacted.