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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Gurgaon firms set up 24x7 helplines for women staff

Sanjeev K Ahuja , Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, February 06, 2013
First Published: 00:27 IST(6/2/2013) | Last Updated: 00:29 IST(6/2/2013)

In the wake of rising incidents of crime against women, several corporates in Gurgaon, including BPOs, have taken up initiatives to provide security to their employees.

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A Gurgaon firm has set up 24x7 emergency control rooms (ECR) with helpline numbers for its women staff.

These initiatives are an 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.

Others are sourcing pepper spray kits and organising self-defence classes, especially for women  employees in night shifts.

BPOs and call centres are making a beeline for self-defence experts, who are receiving requests to set up specialised studios for training sessions in Gurgaon.

Veena Gupta, a self-defence expert who founded the Women Empowerment Safety and Security (WESS) —  a Facebook group — is on her toes these days. “Even RWAs have been inviting me to train women residents as well as domestic helps,” said Gupta.

MTS, a Gurgaon-based cellular services provider, has 700 employees in the NCR and 3,500 across India. Women comprise about 14% of its workforce.

It 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. 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. 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, whose number is 9266861111.

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