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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: It seems Odisha Police’s strong message against callers creating a nuisance for customer care executives handling distress calls during COVID crisis has not been able to put a lease on the notoriety of such people.

Despite cases being registered earlier, fresh audio clips in possession of OTV show how customer care executives working under State COVID emergency helpline 104 are once again being severely harassed by multiple callers who are not reluctant to show downright abusive behaviour.

In some cases, these anti-socials have been caught teasing, seeking personal phone numbers of lady executives to befriend them. But when refused, they showed little hesitancy in throwing personal comments on the helpline staff.

The audio records also show how some, under the influence of alcohol, are calling the emergency number without any sense.

The most shocking instance was when a youth was recorded hurling abusive words at the online lady executive for no reason. In another clip, a youth can be heard asking info on new Reliance Jio offers.


It may be noted that an OTV report last month exposed how spam calls continued to come thick and fast to Odisha's COVID-19 helpline number 104 creating a headache for the government as well as the support staff. Several executives taking SOS calls of distress people often complained of callers making amorous approaches on the phone and also abusing them.

Following the report, Ziquitza Health Care, which operates call centre handling Odisha govt's toll-free 104 COVID19 helpline, filed a complaint at Saheed Nagar Police Station against 38 mobile numbers from which abusive/fake calls were received.

While intellectuals have shown displeasure over a rise in such harassment, customer care executives harassed during such incidents have urged State government to crackdown on mischief mongers who continue to take undue profit of Covid crisis.

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