The BBMP control rooms that attend to hundreds of phone calls seeking assistance do not have dedicated staff of their own.
Staff on deputation, who do not have any special training in handling emergencies, handle all calls. These include complaints about flooding in low-lying areas, collapsed trees and fallen electric poles due to rains.
The BBMP has nine control rooms, one each at zonal offices and one central office. The staff work in three shifts - 6 am to 2 pm, 2 pm to 10 pm and 10 pm to 6 am.
The number of control room staff in each shift varies from one to three in all eight zones. “Employees from revenue, welfare, health and other departments in the BBMP are posted on deputation in the control rooms,” an official from the BBMP told Express. They work in the control room for a month and do not even get weekly offs during this time, he observed.
The primary duty of the staff at the control room is to take details from the caller and pass it on to officials who will act on the information, he said.
“We have to deal with various kinds of callers. Some people call us in an inebriated condition and abuse us. It is not easy to get rid of such callers,” said a staff at a zonal-level control room.
An official at the control room in the South zone said, “We are often targeted and abused by the public as well as elected representatives. Senior citizens also often call us and talk about their heart ailments and problems about getting PAN cards. If we speak nicely, they talk to us for over half-an-hour wasting our time. But if we are rude, they complain to higher officials.”
While the control rooms at old zones, including South, East and West are managed by employees on deputation, newly added zones have staff who are outsourced.