The plan to turn Bhopal into a 'global safe city' is likely to take a concrete shape soon with the directorate of women empowerment planning a public consultation later in January to seek suggestions from different stakeholders, especially from different sections of citizens.
The directorate, along with UN Women — a United Nations' organisation for gender equality and empowerment of women — formally launched the global safe city initiative for Bhopal in November, 2014 by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU). But the field level initiatives would be launched only after the consultations and consequent finalisation of an action plan.
The three-year programme is a community-based initiative aiming to turn public spaces safe for women to allow them freedom of movement without fear of harassment. Bhopal is only the second city in country after Delhi where the initiative has been launched.
According to National Crime Records Bureau statistics for year 2013, Bhopal reported 131 rapes, sixth highest in country, after big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur and Indore.
The city also reported 307 cases of assault on women with intent to rape, fifth highest in country after Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. The directorate has already gathered the basic data related to crime rate and vulnerable spots in context of violence against women from the police.
"But we want the requirements of the safe city to come from citizens themselves. We will invite various sections of citizens including school and college students and seek feedback and suggestions from them," commissioner of women empowerment Kalpana Shrivastava told HT. She said that the date of consultation would be finalised soon.
Officials of departments concerned like police, women and child development, social justice, school and higher education and others will also be invited for the consultation. The suggestions and feedback drawn from the consultation would be uploaded online, seeking wider feedback. "The three-year action plan would be then fine-tuned on basis of the best suggestions," the commissioner said.