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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Women want guards in buses in evening, govt yet to act on demand

Neelam Pandey and Faizan Haider, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 16, 2013
First Published: 00:26 IST(16/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:32 IST(16/2/2013)

The Capital’s women, who regularly use public transport while going back home from work in the evening, want home guards in buses during that time. Home guards have been deployed in all buses on the DTC night service.

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But the night service begins only at 11pm, when not many people, and hardly any woman, use public transport.

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The demand for home guards had gained momentum after the horrific gang rape of a 23-year-old woman two months ago. She had later succumbed to her injuries last year in December in a Singapore hospital.

Delhi government officials, however, said they were looking into the possibility of deploying ex-servicemen in buses during peak hours to address this issue, but no time frame was fixed for its implementation.

“What is the logic behind stationing home guards after 11pm when most women don’t use buses after 9pm. It’s a wastage of precious resources and money.

"The government should ideally deploy these home guards during evenings to make travelling in buses safer,” said Rashmi Singh, a resident of Malviya Nagar.

“There are times when we ask male passengers to vacate seats reserved for women. Not only do they not vacate the seats, but they even start abusing us verbally.

"Asking the conductor to help is of no use, because whenever we do, he always expresses his helplessness. If guards are deployed in these buses, they will keep a check,” said Shyama Kumar, a resident of Punjabi Bagh.

HT took stock of buses on the night service and found that even men hardly use that service. In one bus, there were only three people -- the conductor, driver and home guard.

A large chunk of Delhi’s middle-class, especially women, who work till 7 or 8 pm rely on DTC buses as taking autorickshaws every day is an expensive affair. While these buses are very convenient in the morning peak hours, they become a security hazard during the evening.

According to Delhi government there are 87 buses for the night duty and they usually make 86 trips in a day. There are a total of 100 home guards that are deployed in these buses.

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