Cabs operating in Cyberabad will not be able to do so from January 1, 2015, without registering with the police under an initiative launched for enhancing women’s safety.
“We have asked all cab owners and drivers to register with us. They will be given a ‘My vehicle is safe’ ID cards and quick reaction-coded stickers,” Cyberabad Police commissioner CV Anand said.
“The process is underway and from January 1, no cab will be allowed on the roads without this identity.”
An estimated 14,000 cabs ply in Cyberabad, catering largely to people in the IT and pharma sectors.
This initiative means regardless of the company — app-based, radio taxis or local ones — the police will have the identity of every cab and its driver.
Avinash Mohanty, DCP (Traffic), said, “With such data it would be easy to keep tabs on the drivers. And the fact that he (cabbie) is under watch itself would be a major deterrent.”
Anand has met all cab operators, including Uber, and directed them to share responsibility for the safety of women using their vehicles.
On December 8, the Delhi government banned Uber taxi services after an MNC executive who used its mobile app to book a cab was allegedly raped by the driver.
Subsequently, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh suspended Uber services.
The crime put the spotlight yet again on women’s safety and Cyberabad too got a reminder of the October 2013 rape of a techie by a cab driver and his friend.
The two accused were later found guilty of rape and received 20-year imprisonment terms.
Since the October 2013 rape, no such crime has been reported in the IT corridor and financial district of the famed Hi-Tech city which houses offices of hundreds of firms including global majors such as Microsoft, IBM, Google and Facebook.
“After the rape and concerns raised by the IT sector, we adopted a five-pronged strategy in the corridor for women’s safety and security. We are gearing up to ensure a similar cover all across Cyberabad,” Anand said.
Cyberabad area adjoins Hyderabad city and is twice its size.
The Cyberabad Police strategy includes an increase in public transport (40 more RTC buses now ply to serve IT employees), a women’s police station, nine new checkposts and 13 round-the-clock patrolling cars. Installation of CCTVs is planned to cover every corner of the IT corridor.
Women IT professionals give their thumbs up to the measures. “We feel pretty safe, especially in the Hi-Tech city area where there is constant patrolling,” said Nitya Nivali, head, HR, Progress Software.
An exclusive Facebook page and a helpline for women have been opened. Work is underway to popularise a safety app named FightBack. There is also a proposal to run rescue vehicles for women.
Crimes against women are reported with unerring frequency in India, which was convulsed by the murder in December 2012 of a woman who was raped and tortured on a moving bus in New Delhi.
The crime forced the country to confront sexual violence and led to a tightening of rape laws.