M. Srinivas

HYDERABAD: Pranksters beware, you are being tracked. Worried over the spate of crank calls to the Fire Control Room (101) from landline and mobile phones, the Andhra Pradesh Fire and Emergency Services Department has decided to crack the whip against those giving false alarms.

Such calls will be identified and the details will be passed on to the police for stringent action. Criminal cases will be booked against offenders for creating nuisance and disturbing government officials at work.

“With the help of caller ID, we are preparing a list of repeat callers to be given to the city police,” said Assistant District Fire Officer, P. Mohan Reddy. Only 10 per cent of the calls were genuine out of 1,000-odd calls coming in everyday.

TRAI alerted

Senior officials also informed the Telecom Regularity Authority of India (TRAI) about the problem and urged steps to curb the menace. On instructions from TRAI, private mobile operators are now working with the Fire department and giving out call details, for police action.

Blank and prank calls by curious, mischievous children too are a nuisance, peaking around weekends and public holidays. In one instance, the daughter of an IAS officer used to call the control room repeatedly at night. Unable to bear it, authorities traced the number and spoke to her parents. The girl’s mother apologised on behalf of her ward and assured the officials that it would not recur. In some instances, children dialled 101 from their landline and keep the receiver open in front of a blaring television. Firemen on night shifts have to tolerate hundreds of calls from inebriated people who shower them with the choicest of abuses. Some even demanded liquor to be arranged for them.

Sources said the Kerala police had strict laws in place since last year to prevent hoax calls.