VELLORE: Emergency Call Boxes (ECBs) with familiar fluorescent reflectors and adorned with telephone symbols and an SOS (Save Our Souls) displayed in bold will soon be a welcome sight every two kilometres on the 150 kilometre National Highway (NH)- 46 that runs from Walajapet to Krishnagiri through Vellore.
Built at a cost of Rs 9 crore, ECBs will help the road users get prompt assistance from an around-the-clock help-desk set up and manned in Pallikonda Toll Plaza by Larsen and Toubro, that built the six-lane highway.
“ECBs will make the NH user-friendly and is part of the six-lane highway project,” said S Naresh, Manager of the Toll Plaza.
Road users can contact the help desk through the ECBs for car breakdowns, accidents, dead animals on the road or any other traffic problems.
“The minute the caller presses the call-button, the help desk in the control room is alerted revealing details of the caller’s location on computer monitors loaded with special ‘Incident Management Workstation software’. The help-desk receiving the call will immediately call the person on the NH enquiring about their needs,” said the control room officer.
The help-desk is supported by a field-team equipped with two tow-vehicles, two 20 tonne cranes and three ambulances and an equal number of patrol vehicles.
“Based on the needs, we will send our men to the spot to help the persons in distress. We will also alert the police station of the respective jurisdictions, if necessary,” said Naresh.
A total of 145 ECBs have been installed along the entire stretch. “They have been functional for the last one month and the control room have been receiving 20 to 30 calls per day.” he added.
Dinesh Kumar of Rangapuram,(23) said, “I alerted the control room about an accident using an ECB two weeks ago. The control room sent an ambulance very quickly to the accident spot. But school students are misusing it”. The help-desk control officer also confirmed this and said that students should be educated not to misuse or meddle with such facilities as they are installed for a worthy cause.
Apart from the ECBs, a total of 1,990 lamps fittings have been erected at a cost of Rs 5.97 crore along NH-46 to facilitate easy passage. “We are also planning to install four to five high density cameras in black-spot areas (accident-prone areas) for better surveillance and to avert accidents,” added the authorities.