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Security: the missing link

Lack of connectivity means students have to walk on long, desolate and unsafe stretches. Mallica Joshi reports.

delhi Updated: Nov 01, 2012 01:11 IST
Mallica Joshi

For Anita Sharma, a second-year student of BA Programme at Moti Lal Nehru Evening College, scoring well is not the only challenge. Getting to college safely is also a big task. “After getting down from the bus at Satya Niketan, there is a long walk to college. I can’t afford to spend Rs. 40 everyday on an auto,” Sharma says.

When questioned about safety, she said, “I do feel unsafe and wait for classmates to join me as it gets lonely in evening. Stories of girls being molested do not make us feel any better.”

Lack of a proper transport facility has made life difficult for students, especially girls. Bhagini Nivedita College is situated 6km from Najafgarh in Khair.

DTC buses ply till Najafgarh and students have to either hitch rides or take an auto to reach college. Last year, two students of the college died were crushed by a tractor they had hitched a ride on.

The students of and off-campus colleges are unlucky compared to their North Campus counterparts when it comes to student-friendly surroundings. There are long desolate stretches to be navigated without any proper transport. And, most colleges are spread across a big area.

The police and university administration have tried to make the infamous stretch between Sri Venkateswara College and South Campus safer. There are CCTV cameras in colleges and university campus as well as a police station in the area. Yet students still feel insecure.

Statistics reveal that these steps haven’t brought down crime. While only one snatching case was reported from the area till October 30 last year, the figure has gone to four in 2012, all of which were solved.

Cases of hurt went up from one to six. But those of molestation came down from two to one. “These figures merely imply that more cases are being registered,” claimed an officer.

Said Umesh Rai, director, South Campus: “We had thought of employing a private player for transport facility in these areas. But these transporters won’t be accountable to anyone. We had spoken to DTC but DU does not have enough funds for such a service.”

The university had earlier floated a plan where colleges were to foot 70% of the bill for DTC services but only three of the 11 colleges accepted the proposal.

The university also runs a free daily bus service for students from INA Metro station to various south Delhi colleges but few students are aware of it.

“We agree there are serious issues of security and connectivity but we are trying our best to address them. Also colleges need to make the students aware about the available facilities,” Rai added.

Student speak
Presence of ex-students in college makes her feel unsafe
Shikha Dagar, first year student at a South Campus college

For 18-year-old Shikha Dagar, college is a place where she has to be always on her guard. A student of Chemistry (honours), Dagar says it is common for former students to hang out in her college.

“These seniors are friends with security guards. If they can misbehave with girls in the college, what will they do outside where there is no fear of being thrown out?” She said.

Dagar’s college is on the Benito Juarez Marg, one of the city’s most unsafe stretches. “Reaching college isn’t a problem but going back is difficult. Getting autos becomes difficult and most drivers try to fleece us. I feel unsafe walking back,” she said.

Though cops from the South Campus police station are supposed to patrol the area regularly, students say it’s not as frequent as they would like.

She has to walk 4km from college to bus stop every day
Vandana Yadav, student of Motilal Nehru College

Vandana Yadav and her friends walk nearly 4km each day from college to the nearest bus stop. This student of Moti Lal Nehru College is still surprised that not a single DTC bus plies on a route used by so many students.

“In North Campus, there is a bus every five minutes and rickshaws are everywhere. Here, the nearest Metro station is INA and there is not university special bus. I simply can’t afford to spend on autos,” she says.

But unknown to Yadav, there is a university bus service that picks up students from the Metro station at 8am and drops them back around 5 pm. When told about this bus, she looked clueless. “I have neither seen nor heard if it ever and I have been coming to college for four months now,” she says incredulously.