Announced two years ago and reiterated after the gang-rape of December 16, the Delhi Police has failed to completely deliver on its promise of reigning in errant BPO drivers.
In a city that witnesses thousands of call centre cabs transporting women employees crisscross between call centres and corporate houses to innumerable destinations within and beyond its borders in the dead of night, the police could identify, and subsequently fine, only two errant drivers over two whole years.
According to police estimates, between 2,700 and 3,000 call centre cabs ply on the streets of Delhi on a daily basis. “Only a handful of BPO cab drivers could be fined throughout 2012,” admitted an officer.
“Given the manpower crunch that the force suffers from and other initiatives to increase visibility that have recently been put in place, actual prosecution under the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act has given way to verbal warnings to get their act straight,” the officer added.
The cab drivers are supposed to follow several guidelines to ensure the safety of women passengers they drop home.
Some of them include women employees not being made to travel alone with the driver between 8pm and 7am, not being either the first or the last to be dropped, and being picked up and dropped right at their doorstep with the cab remaining halted till she has visibly entered its premises.
If any cab driver is found violating any of these norms, he becomes liable to be fined under Section 188 of the MV Act. Instructions to this effect had been issued after a 30-year-old call centre employee was gang-raped in December 2010.
However, not even a single prosecution took place since the beginning of this year or after six drunks gang-raped a 23-year-old physiotherapist aboard a moving bus in south Delhi in December 2012.
“We have now begun photographing drivers and marshals aboard vans carrying BPO employees at night to maintain a database,” said Deepak Mishra, special commissioner of police (law and order).
“This will further strengthen our efforts in this direction.”