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Neelam Pandey and Faizan Haider, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 29, 2013
After a long day at work, Kritika, 23 (name changed), prefers to wait for her brother to pick her up from her office in South Extension at 8.30pm every day.
While buses ply in the area during that time, erratic frequency and no security personnel inside have forced Kritika to give them a miss.

The Delhi government has posted home guards on buses that ply on night routes, but the service starts only at 11pm, a time when not many people, especially women, use them.

A number of women who work late at night want home guards to be stationed in buses as early as possible. Many say 7pm is the ideal time. 

Delhi government officials said that they were looking into the possibility of deploying ex-servicemen inside buses during peak hours to address this issue.

“A meeting was held recently with ex-servicemen and we have approved it in principle,” said a senior Delhi government official.

Another meeting will be held soon to discuss the routes on which former soldiers will be deployed. 

“I work in a beauty parlour and though it shuts at 8pm usually, there are times when we have to work till 9pm. Hiring an auto-rickshaw proves to be an expensive affair and we can’t afford it every day. If home guards are present during the evening and at night, women like me will feel safe in using the public transport,” said Kritika.

While home guards were present in buses plying at night (after 11pm) on several routes, HT found that women do not use buses during that time.

“If women don’t use the buses after 10pm, what is the logic behind placing the home guards at 11pm?” said Sunita Pathak, a resident of Rani Bagh.

“There is no metro connectivity to my workplace. In the morning, I take a DTC bus to reach office but while going back I ask my husband to pick me up. There have been cases where men have molested me taking advantage of the crowd and the conductor ignored my complaints,” said Rashmi Singh, who works in a bakery.