NT wakes up to abuse of inquiry service

Kathmandu, October 28:

Are you in the habit of making unnecessary calls to 197 (Nepal Telecom’s telephone inquiry service)? Be careful. Nepal Telecom (NT) has decided to take strict measures to control malicious calls to 197.

The NT has started issuing public notice from Sunday, requesting people not to misuse the free information service.

“We have already blacklisted some 1,200 numbers including landlines, CDMA phones and cellphones,” said Rakesh Shrestha, who supervises the service at Sundhara. Shrestha further added that they would take action against the number if there was any more instance of misuse.”

He also said that the Nepal Telecom would start taking action against the abusers after a month.

An attendant at the inquiry service said most of the abusers call and hang up immediately without asking anything. “Some ask their children to talk for no business at all,” she said, adding that some even use obscene language.

Nepal Telecome has outsourced its telephone inquiry service to Hari Devi Store for a period of five years, of which three years have already passed. The firm has employed 100 attendants who provide round the clock information service across the nation from 54 various places.

“Though we are only supposed to give telephone numbers of individuals or organisations as asked by the callers, we have also been answering queries regarding the Nepal Telecom’s services,” Shrestha informed.

Another attendant said most of the abusers were male who often call in a drunken state. He said most of the blacklisted numbers are from the Valley and from Gandaki and Koshi zones.

Surendra Thike, spokesperson of the Nepal Telecom, said the NT’s move was directed to control the misuse of telephone inquiry service. He said the NT’s action against the blacklisted number would range from advising the callers against the misuse, blocking their calls to 197 and blocking the number for ever.