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Dial 333 and 999

April 16, 2018. A group of robbers entered Kapona village of Bishombopur thana in Sunamganj district. Realizing that the robbers have entered the village, a villager dialed 999 for emergency help. A team of police force immediately the local police stations made their move and arrested 11 robbers of an inter-district group from that village. Although three could fled but most of them were captured by the police.

On April 17, 2018, police officials have arrested an alleged rapist in Kulaura upazilla in Moulvibazaar district after receiving a call. Another report has been published on an online news portal that the police have arrested another alleged rapists after receiving a call from the victim’s brother.

Don’t you feel encouraged and hopeful when you hear these kinds of news in a stress-mired social environment of ours? I do. These are just a few of the news items in the media when our police force arrived at the crime spot after they received distress calls on 999. I’ve also heard that not only could they prevent many vicious crimes, but also could solve various kinds of illegal practices across the country. I’ve also heard people calling 999 and seek for help from the police in order to stop night-time real estate construction in the neighbourhoods.

This 24-hour service is being monitored and managed by our police force. The 999 number is completely ‘toll free’ and we would not need to pay a fee to use it. Any Bangladeshi can call 999 when he or she witnesses a crime, fears for his or her life, is hurt or injured, is in danger, a fire breaks out or when someone is in urgent need of an ambulance or medical service.

To my mind, it’s indeed a great step towards serving the people across the country.

There has been another development recently in serving the people through the help of call centres. A new helpline, 333, has been inaugurated in order to provide the citizens with information on procedures of receiving public services. Anyone can dial helpline 333 from anywhere and receive information about government offices, officers, tourist attractions, 64 districts and get different social problems redressed.

The objective of this is to reach out to rural citizens with government services. There are confirmed reports that many underage girls across Bangladesh could prevent their parents to get them married off forcefully. We have been trying to prevent child marriages for a long time, but the information of those weddings wasn’t available to the local or national authorities. The 333 service has brought the people closer to the government in solving various social menaces.

It’s noticeable that helplines such as 999 and 333 could truly engage the officials as well as politicians who are actually meant for serving the people. These initiatives could also inspire the service providers that they have some work to do for the people.

I wholeheartedly thank the government, especially our ICT Adviser, for initiating these services and at the same time, I urge him to introduce some more such services in agricultural development and in disaster-time responses.

Bangladesh is, indeed, surprise to the global community in terms of agricultural outputs. The farmers of this tiny piece of land have shown the world what they can do with their hard work and will power. There have also been various kinds of agricultural innovations over the years in this country. Now it is time to impart what the agri-professionals who have gathered the knowledge over the years to our farmers.

Some of the works are already being done by the government offices as well as by some NGOs. It’s possible to weave all the works that are being done for the farmer though a one single approach where they can avail any kind of farming- and weather-related information.

I believe this will provide another boost to our agriculture.

At the same time, I also urge the government to bring all disaster-time responders under one umbrella by using digital means. Bangladesh has come a long way in terms of saving lives during cyclones and storms in the coastal areas. However, nothing much has been done in other forms of disasters that still plague our lives across the country.

Digitizing the entire system – from preparedness to responding during disasters – could make a great difference in saving more lives across the country. Digitalizing agricultural services and disaster responses would change our society further.

First appeared in Dhaka Tribune.

One Reply to “Dial 333 and 999”

  1. Indeed, a great initiative and we need more initiatives like this. At the same time people, specially from the rural areas, needs to be educated on how and when to seek help through these helplines and emergency services. This will take away the unfriendly feelings between the public and low inforcement groups. We need to have a better friendship and understanding between the groups and build the trust back on our public services. Hope that day is not too far away.

    A very timely and must needed action Ekram vai. Please don’t forget to write the events that highlights how active, efficient and heroic could be our law enforcement officials. That way, they too will be inspired to keep up the good deeds.

    Very nice article. Bravo!

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