Commuters fume over defunct Shipping Helplines

Port Blair
4 Dec 2018

Defunct helplines of the Directorate of Shipping Department is generating serious resentment among ship commuters in these islands. As per reports, the Shipping Services Helpline Number 245555 & 232714 has remained Out of Order for more than three months now leaving commuters with no option to seek assistance pertaining to sailing and departure of mainland as well as inter-island vessels. However, one of the helpline number, 245555, resumed operations around 15 days ago with two dedicated staff to respond to queries of callers.
“The Helpline Numbers became quite popular among the population as it catered to all their information needs regarding shipping services, particularly the far-flung inter-island commuters – both businessmen and government officials -who have to travel to Port Blair frequently. Besides, tourists also availed the service for planning their trips to locations like Havelock, Neil Island etc. But inertia of the Shipping Department towards ensuring uninterrupted services of the helpline numbers has left commuters fuming. All calls made to the helpline numbers bears the response ‘Out of Order’. The Directorate should take immediate steps to resume the services of the helpline numbers,” said some frequent ship travellers.
An official of the Shipping Department informed that both the helpline numbers were out of service due to some technical snag. “The number 245555 has been made operational around 15 days ago, while efforts are on to make the other, 232714, operational soon. Two staff have been deployed at the Helplines, who respond to all queries of commuters from 5 am to 7 pm,” added the official. (EOIC)