For police assistance, people in Punjab can dial a common emergency number '112', which was launched today on trial basis under the Centre's nationwide emergency response system (NERS) project.
Designed on the lines of 911 operational in the USA, the NERS was conceptualised in the aftermath of the 2012 gang-rape of the woman in a bus in Delhi.
Under the project, '112' will be the single common number for help during emergency situations. All other emergency numbers like 100 for police, 101 for fire brigade, 102 for ambulance will be replaced by the common number.
A centre is being set up in Mohali for receiving calls from people in distress and the state police is expecting to officially begin the emergency number service in the next couple of months.
"The common emergency number '112' is under trial in Punjab and people can dial this number instead of '100' for police help," Inspector General of Punjab Police G S Dhillon, who is handling the project, said.
"We want people to dial this number so that if there is any bottleneck in the system that can be removed," the officer said, adding, "We have done mapping for '112' as per the Government of India instructions."
A majority of the people were still unaware of he emergency number '112'. The common emergency number will be launched in the next six months, he said.
"We will initially have 60 call receivers with a capacity of handling one lakh emergency calls per day," Dhillon said, adding the Centre had provided Rs 9.28 crore for this project.
Currently, Punjab police receive about 50,000 emergency calls per day on the '100' number, out of which just about one and half per cent cases are actionable.