PCR vans to be one-stop help shop for Games tourists

By Praveen Kumar, IANS,

New Delhi: It will take only one minute for police control room (PCR) vans to reach any Commonwealth Games venue, with more than 100 deployed to respond to any emergency calls.

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Not just that. Thousands of tourists as well as athletes and officials here for the mega event from Oct 3 will find in Delhi’s 630 PCR vans a one-stop shop for help, including information on transport and lodging and ferrying visitors to heritage sites.

The vans have stretchers for medical emergencies, advanced equipment, a tour guide and water — if tourists feel thirsty.

“They would guide the visitors, provide them with information on the Games schedule and tourist places, direct them to places to stay and – most importantly – protect them from touts and any misbehaviour,” said a senior police officer.

For the Games, 25 PCR vans have been stationed around the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, eight at the Games Village and two to six vehicles around the other Games venues.

Don’t people often complain that the PCR vans don’t reach quickly? Yes, the official said, but that is because Delhi’s population has shot up even as the number of vehicles has not risen proportionately.

Delhi Police have earmarked 10 tourist PCR vans to transport visitors to the city’s hot spots including heritage sites. According to officials, these vehicles would have young trained officers who understand English and can guide tourists.

These vans will be placed at 10 places of tourist interest including Rajghat, India Gate, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Palika Bazaar, Janpath, Paharganj, railway stations and the IGI airport. Women constables have been deputed in most PCR vans.

At present there are 630 PCR vans – 168 Tavera, 205 Qualis and 257 Maruti Gypsy. These are stationed at almost all key points across the city — when they are not mobile.

“Our team is good enough to give the best service and ensure that no problems will be faced by tourists visiting the capital,” the officer said.

All the PCR vans are now equipped with the latest global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS). An online city map has been installed at the Central PCR to track the movement of these vehicles.

“According to the city’s population, we need 2,000 PCR vans. If our demand is met, we can meet the expectation of citizens,” said the officer.

Last year, Delhi Police pleaded with the home ministry seeking additional PCR vans in view of the Commonwealth Games, but nothing happened.

“We had told the home ministry that the city needs at least 1,000 PCR vans. But we didn’t get a single new PCR van. Now we have to plan all the arrangements with the existing numbers,” said a police officer.

Ground rules for tourist police:

1. Prevent tourists from being harassed by touts, cheats, bag-lifters and
anti-social elements.

2. Help tourists get transport and lodging at appropriate rates at railway stations, airports, bus terminals, tourist spots and malls.

3. Guide tourists on matters relating to passports, visas, residential permits, exchange of currency and immigration.

4. Provide them with medical aid, should the need arise.

5. Impart information on local customs and traditions, besides tourist spots in Delhi as well as adjoining areas.

Around 7,000 athletes and officials from 71 teams will be in the capital for the Oct 3-14 Games. Thousands of foreign tourists are also expected to descend on the city for the event.