In a span of four days — between February 2 and February 5 — scared Delhiites pressed the panic button in the autorickshaws’ new global positioning systems (GPS) 500 times.
But despite such high usage, help did not reach the person in distress. The reason: The system is yet to be integrated with that of Delhi Police.
Though the panic button has been installed in 15,502 autorickshaws, it has been activated in only 11,135.
Whenever it is pressed, an alarm rings at the Kashmere Gate centre of the transport department with details and location of the autorickshaw. However, the alarm does not result in any real action.
Transport minister Ramakant Goswami said that he has been taking up this issue with the Delhi police but has not received any response so far.
“We want the Delhi Police to integrate this system with their patrolling vans for better monitoring. We have asked them to hold meetings on this front, but are yet to get any response,” he said.
When questioned, the Delhi police said the matter had been brought to their notice recently and they are looking into it.
“A meeting was held and we are discussing the plan,” said a senior Delhi police official.
The transport department had recently rolled out new autorickshaws complete with GPS devices and panic buttons to make travelling safe for citizens, especially women, when travelling at late hours.
It has also made it mandatory for autorickshaws to install GPS devices, printer with fare meters and panic buttons after it revised auto and taxi fares in June 2009.
The government had also promised to set up a call centre to start an ‘auto-on-call service’ on the lines of radio taxis and had raised the fare by 50 paise per kilometre for such autorickshaws and taxis.
Not only did the department later went back on its promise of starting ‘auto-on-call’ service, it also failed to get GPS and panic button installed in 55,000 old autorickshaws.