In the coming months, public buses across the country will be fitted with panic buttons, CCTVs and GPS — an effort to make public transport safer for women in the wake of rising crime and violence against them. The Indian Road and Transport Minister recently inaugurated the service announcing that the whole country will slowly move towards the GPS enabled transportation.
The safety devices will be installed in all public buses in India with a carrying capacity of over 23 passengers. Along with this the govt. has also directed that all mobile phones should come with a panic button after the year 2017, which a woman in an emergency situation should be able to activate just at the press of a single key.
Importantly, there has been as huge cry about women safety in public transport after the horrific Nirbhaya incident. On the unfateful day of December 16, 2012, the 23-year-old physiotherapy student died after being brutally gang-raped inside a moving bus in Delhi.
The Indian Road Transport and Highways Minister, Mr. Nitin Gadkari recently inaugurated the service in the buses at an event at Bikaner House in Delhi, also announcing that the whole country will slowly moving towards GPS enabled transportation. “To ensure safety of women after the unfortunate Nirbhaya incident, we have decided to make it mandatory for public transport buses to install emergency panic buttons, CCTV cameras and GPS-enabled vehicle tracking devices,” the minister said.
There will be a panic button installed in the front of every seat, if the button is pressed in emergency, it will send a signal to a centralised control room, from where immediate help will be sent.
“It is the states that must ensure the buses are equipped with these safety devices. The Centre will provide money from the Nirbhaya fund,” said a road safety official. Additionally govt. will start maintaining a database with the biometric details of all bus drivers and conductors too.
The project will be implemented in phases, ministry officials informed. The cost will be split between the states and the Centre, the latter’s share coming from the Nirbhaya Fund — set up in 2013.
The Rajasthan government has already initiated the move with launching 20 such buses at Bikaner House which will fly between Rajasthan and Delhi. Project named as Mahila Gaurav Express project will cover around 2,500 buses while the second phase will cover around 4,500 buses of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation.
With increase in violence against women this initiative is certainly a big and welcome step-forward in ensuring the safety of women passengers.