Children's helpline 1098 inaccessible - The New Indian Express

Children's helpline 1098 inaccessible

Published: 08th December 2012 11:01 AM

Last Updated: 08th December 2012 11:01 AM

Over the years, Makkala Sahaya Vani (Children’s Help Line) has served as a blessing for many children in distress and the toll free BSNL number 1098 has played a prominent role in rescuing many children in the city.

Unfortunately, the team of Makkala Sahaya Vani now cannot access the toll free number anymore. The reason being the Childline Foundation of India (CFI) which is under the Ministry of Social Justice and Welfare has taken over the toll free number and if any  institution needs access to the number has to be registered under CFI.

The CFI has mandated three conditions for the inclusion of any helpline under its umbrella. Firstly, the helpline has be to a 24/7 service. Secondly, the children’s helpline has to have its own shelter house and lastly it has to be an independent organisation.

Prabha, co-ordinator of Makkala Sahaya Vani says, “We don’t match their criteria as we cannot have a shelter house in the police premises. Moreover, we are  part of Parihar headed by the Police Commissioner of Bangalore, BG Jyothi Prakash Mirji and we do not want to be an independent entity.”

Although registration to the central wing will mean flow of government funds, but Prabha says, “We have been working in this format for a long time and we would not like to bring changes to the organisational structure. Hence, right now we cannot access the toll free number.”

However, Bosco and Apsa have opted for the provision and they are  using the toll free number. This has affected the rescue operations of  Makkala Sahaya Vani to some extent. Prabha says, “Mostly, we get calls from anonymous people and they are aware of the toll free number 1098. This has adversely affected our rescue operations as well.”

Makkala Sahaya Vani is celebrating Children’s Day today at Traffic Park on St Marks Road and about 300 children are expected to be a part of the event.

At present, Makkala Sahaya Vani can be reached only at 22943224.

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