Mobile numbers of girls up for sale in Uttar Pradesh; price `50 to `500 240 infra projects hit as process to give green nod stalls in Maha PROJECTS AFFECTED 240 75
Mobile numbers of unsuspecting girls are being sold from recharge outlets across Uttar Pradesh for prices based on their looks and are being used by men to harass them over the phone, police say.
The thriving racket has come to light after a round-the-clock police helpline, 1090, set up by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was flooded with complaints from women about unsolicited calls. Out of the 6 lakh-odd complaints registered with the helpline in the past four years, 90% related to harassment of women on the phone.
A majority of the men – who seek to entice women with the preferred opening line ‘humain aapse dosti karna hai’ or ‘I want to make friendship with you’ — get the numbers from outlets where women go to recharge their mobile phones.
The unscrupulous rechargers save the numbers and then pass them on to those willing to pay. The number of someone considered ‘beautiful’ can command as much as `500. The selling price for the number of an “ordinary looking girl” fetches `50.
Navniet Sekera, an inspector general of police who played a crucial role in setting up the helpline, says anonymity is key to the latest scourge plaguing tens of thousands of women in the state. The “recharge Bhaiya’ often helps to buy SIMs with fake IDs that he keeps in stacks at his store.
In what might considerably slow down the pace of several infrastructure, real estate and industrial projects in the state, the process to appraise such works for environment clearance has come to a complete halt since October, directly impacting at least 240 projects.
The panels that are supposed to appraise these projects have crossed their tenure, and are in need of reconstitution by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Without a valid environment clearance, authorities in charge of these projects cannot begin construction. The projects impacted include the redevelopment of Grant Medical College and JJ Group of Hospitals, work on the Harilal Bhagwati hospital in Borivli, an eye and cancer hospital in Wadala, road works in the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation, an international exhibition and convention centre at Pimpri-Chinchwad, the revamp of the RBI quarters at Chembur, among others.