The 21-km stretch of National Highway 24 that divides Noida and Ghaziabad is one of the most unsafe roads in that part of the NCR. Every day, thousands of women are forced to travel on this crime-prone stretch through unsafe means of transport. Lack of police presence and dysfunctional streetlights make matters worse.
Shagun Gupta is one such harried woman who stays in Crossings Republik in Ghaziabad. "The 8km ride on NH-24 is the most frightening part of my daily routine. People play lewd songs and pass cheap comments; and some of these people are my co-travellers," she said.
After Monday's gang rape, women have begun ensuring that men don't travel with them in the 'share' auto. Some were even seen offering auto drivers more money to ensure they don't pick up male passengers.
The traffic police is present at only two spots on the entire stretch - at Kala Pathar and at the CISF cut. The road near Khoda village, which has seen several police-people clashes in the recent past, has hardly any streetlights.
Sudha Sharma, a resident of Indirapuram's Abhay Khand, said, "NH 24 is hardly a few meters wide and putting barriers there will halt traffic. Instead, PCR vans should be stationed."
Women complain of insensitive policemen and private buses without proper permits. Shilpi Chowdhary of Vijay Nagar said, "There are no emergency helpline numbers in buses, nor are the vehicle registration numbers mentioned anywhere inside. We can't inform anyone of the bus we are travelling in."