Bomb hoax at Sub-Collector's office

ON THE ALERT: Police searching Sub-Collector's office after a bomb hoax in Vijayawada on Monday.  

Staff Reporter

VIJAYAWADA: Revenue and police officials spent tense moments following a hoax bomb call at the Sub-Collector's office on Bandar Road on Monday. As the telephone had no caller ID facility, the police could not trace the number from which the call emerged.

An unidentified caller rang up the telephone number 2574454 at 10.15 a.m. and told the receiver that a bomb planted in their office would explode in half an hour.

Employees panic

All the employees came out after hearing about the news. On receiving information, the bomb disposal squad rushed to the spot by 10.30 a.m. Sniffer dogs were pressed into service. The search, which lasted two hours, proved that it was just a hoax call.

Suryaraopet SI K.Umamaheswara Rao said that there was no possibility of tracing the caller, as there was no caller ID facility to the phone. He contacted BSNL officials but in vain.

In a similar incident, mischievous calls to HPCL installations at Kondapalli about 15 days ago could not be traced due to lack of caller ID. Ibrahimpatnam SI Jayasurya, who investigated this case, said that they could not get any other clue to nab the guilty.

But the Railway police could catch a caller, who made a hoax bomb call recently. As the railway number had caller ID, the police could contact the telephone booth concerned and later arrested one person from Tadepalligudem. Following today's incident at Sub-Collector's office, District Collector Navin Mittal instructed all the Government offices in the district to get caller ID facility. He said that the telephone instruments in all offices would be fitted with the special gadget, which would cost Rs. 150 to Rs. 200. The BSNL would provide the caller ID facility free of cost to any basic telephone customer with the Government offices being no exception.

BSNL DGM (urban) L. Sreenu said customers should contact the toll-free number "1991" for caller ID facility, which would be provided in just a day or two. There was no caller ID facility on extension phones in any office. The department was considering a proposal to give phone instruments with built-in caller ID facility. When the hoax call was brought to the notice of Mr. Sreenu, he instructed the wing concerned to provide the caller ID facility.