The state transport body plans to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on its buses—first on 100 luxury buses plying from Uttarakhand to New Delhi and Chandigarh and later on its entire fleet.
The main aim is to deter criminals from preying on women passengers and to provide evidence if crimes are committed aboard the buses. The demand got widespread approval after a 23-year-old woman died after she was brutally raped in a moving bus in 2012 in Delhi.
More than one lakh people travel daily in the Uttarakhand Transport Corporation’s fleet of about 1,146 buses. From Dehradun alone around 85 buses ply to Delhi every day.
Uttarakhand Transport Corporation managing director Brijesh Kumar Sant said: “We will be floating the tender (for the installation of CCTV cameras) within 10 days and hope to install the facility in about 100 (AC and luxury) buses running for Delhi and Chandigarh in the next six months”.
The transport corporation is a government undertaking that coordinates road transport services in the state.
Shuchi Gusain, a Delhi University student who frequently travels between the national capital and Dehradun, said: “The realisation that there’s a CCTV facility will indeed discourage male passengers who pass casual remarks or behave inappropriately with women passengers”.
In July, a woman had alleged molestation by a fellow passenger while travelling in a luxury bus from Dehradun to Delhi. Following the incident, her mother registered a complaint with the state women’s commission, which held a hearing in August. The panel had called for gender sensitisation workshops for drivers and conductors of the state-run buses.
At present, CCTV cameras are installed in two all-women buses plying on Dehradun-Haridwar and Dehradun-Rishikesh routes.
Plans are also afoot to launch similar women-only bus services on Dehradun-Mussoorie and Haldwani-Nainital/Rudrapur routes.
The camera, it seems, is not just aimed at passengers.
“It will also help us supervise the behaviour of our staff and catch instances of conductors (pocketing money) without issuing tickets to passengers,” Sant said.