HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

Is there really a BEST helpline, ask women

Prajakta Chavan Rane, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 22, 2012
First Published: 02:26 IST(22/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:27 IST(22/12/2012)

Most women that HT interviewed said they didn’t complain against sexual harassment as they did not know there was an emergency helpline number.


The BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking said it has not received any complaint on the helpline in the past two years. The women blamed it on the lack of awareness created by BEST.

“I have never come across a single helpline advertisement. BEST should prominently display it in buses so that people can avail of it,” said Rutuja Jha, 33, a fashion designer from Malad.

BEST public relations officer AS Tamboli said the undertaking will make serious efforts to ensure greater awareness about the helpline. Akshara, a city-based women’s organisation, said it had conducted a two-month training camp with BEST’s senior officials, who will, in turn, sensitise other staff.

Some women did not lodge a complaint as their issue was res-olved.

“When I was travelling from Chembur to Nerul in a BEST bus, a man seated next to me kept pushing me. I asked him to change his seat, which he reluctantly did. Hence, I didn’t register a complaint,” said Anuradha Kanade, 42, a housewife from Nerul. 

RR Deshpande, chief manager (traffic) of BEST said: “In the event of complaints by women commuters, the staff has been directed to take the help of the police to resolve it.”

Some women commuters tolerate the nuisance to avoid trouble.

“We feel nobody will support or believe us. I have sometimes walked away as I didn’t want to garner unwanted attention,” said Rupa Shanbaug, 37, a human resource executive from Govandi.

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