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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Firms set up 24x7 helplines for staff

Sanjeev K Ahuja, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, February 06, 2013
First Published: 01:05 IST(6/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:07 IST(6/2/2013)

Following rising incidents of crime against women, several corporate entities, including BPOs, have started taking up various initiatives to provide security to its employees. A city firm has set up 24x7 emergency control rooms (ECR) with helpline numbers for its women staff.

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Private initiatives attempt to create a "First Ring of Safety" for women, parallel to the police system. It comprises an internal and dedicated mechanism to ensure safety.

Many others are sourcing pepper spray kits and organising self-defence classes to equip its employees, especially those who work in night shifts. Several educational institutions in the city have also organised workshops for its girl students.

Experts who impart self-defence training, meanwhile, are in great demand with BPOs and call centres making a beeline for them.

Veena Gupta, a self-defence expert who founded WESS - Women Empowerment Safety and Security -  a Facebook group, is on her toes these days.

"Demand for self-defence classes for women has suddenly skyrocketed. RWAs are inviting me to train women occupants as well as domestic helps," said Gupta. 

Experts say they are receiving requests to set up specialised studios to conduct training sessions in Gurgaon.

MTS, a Gurgaon-based national cellular services provider, has 700 employees in the National Capital Region (NCR) and 3,500 across India with women comprising about 14% of its workforce.

The company has initiated multiple measures to ensure safety of its employees. MTS has not only established 24x7 control rooms but is also organising self-defence classes for its women staff.

"The control rooms are manned round-the-clock by a special vigilance team to provide assistance in case of any emergency during or after office hours. The team has issued emergency contact cards to employees that bear contact details of 24x7 helplines in their respective cities. These cards also have various other emergency numbers like hospitals, fire brigade etc and special efforts have been made to make these numbers city specific. Frequent advisories will be sent to employees to keep them abreast with the latest measures taken for their safety," said a MTS spokesperson.

On January 23, Real Estate Development Council of Haryana (Redco), with the help of an NGO, had launched 'Damini', a 24x7 SOS helpline for women 9266861111.

Experts confirmed that the demand for pepper sprays and security surveillance gadgets by BPOs has shot up, especially after the Delhi gage-rape case.


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