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Jyotsna Jalali, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, January 14, 2013
With the entire country fiercely debating about safety of women across nation after recent Delhi gangrape incident and other incidents being reported from across the nation, the new railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal too has set safety of women travelling in trains as his priority.

Bansal, who was at the Chandigarh railway station on Monday to flag off the first ever direct Shatabdi between Chandigarh and New Delhi said that safety of women is his priority and would be dealt with even before any developmental project.

Replying to a query made by HT on how railways plans to ensure complete safety of women in trains, Bansal said, "There are in all 51, 000 coaches and because of shortage of women in police it is not feasible to have women constables in all the coaches. However we have ensured that women constables be stationed in each and every coach reserved for women".

He added that the number of women constables every train will be increased and that a dedicated helpline number will be started on priority for women passengers.

Bansal also spoke on having sensitization workshops for male staff of the railways across country. The minister showed concern and said that he was aware of increasing number of cases about misbehaviour with women in trains.
Another important aspect which the minister touched upon was to have the much awaited Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link to be operational within three months.

The construction of the 110-km long rail link has been going on since 2000 and several deadlines for completion have been missed due to various hurdles, however now the work seems to be getting completed soon.

The link will facilitate in decongesting the Ambala-Ludhiana track and will also reduce the time of commute for trains like Superfast Express Train between Chandigarh and Amritsar by around an hour.