"Our special safety squads are doing their duties well"

Kailash Korde

India, Dec. 15 -- What initiatives has Central Railway undertaken towards the safety of women commuters after the high court directive of June 2011?

We have started new four-digit helpline number instead of the old eight-digit helpline. As per the high court's directive, the new number - 1275 is easier to remember.

Women commuters complain that police personnel are not deployed in their compartments, especially at night.

The Government Railway Police (GRP), which provides security in ladies' compartments, will be in a better position to answer this question. However, we are adding more ladies' special trains also and creating more space for women in the 15-car trains.

Are the special squads proving effective?

We have two special squads - Mahila Vahini and Tejasvini. The Tejasvini squad is responsible for ticket-checking and taking action against beggars and men in women's coaches. The Mahila Vahini squad patrols ladies' special trains and ladies' compartments. Both squads are performing their duties very well.

Why are railway authorities reluctant to board up the wall between the general and women's first-class compartments?

There are two opinions about closing the partition. Some women want it open because they assume that male passengers can help out in case of an emergency. Some want it closed. That is why a decision is pending.

Will there be a new initiative to improve security for women on trains?

No gender-specific initiative is being planned right now. We hope the Integrated Security System (ISS) will ensure the overall safety of commuters. Enhancing the CCTV network, installing vehicle and luggage scanners and filming long-distance trains will help both women and men.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.