Inadequate deployment of women constables and security staff on the Delhi Metro has left female commuters in the lurch. Though there are ‘women only’ compartments, commuters continue to face problems while travelling as the rule is often poorly enforced.
“We face a lot of harassment while travelling along with male passengers on crowded trains. It’s more frustrating when they barge into compartments reserved for us,” said Prerna (22), a Delhi University student who stays in Gurgaon.
The shortage of lady guards adds to the problems when women try to stop men from entering the reserved coach.
In Gurgaon, the Iffco Chowk is the only Delhi Metro stop which has a dedicated police station. However, the ill-equipped chowki is severely short of staff and has only one woman constable on duty. On most days, the police officials end up working 16-18 hours.
The DMRC has also deployed private security staff at Metro stations, but women commuters say they are not enough. Lady constables and marshalls are always hard to find, they say.
Recalling an incident that happened a few days ago, Prerna said a few men entered the ladies’ coach and refused to exit. “When I got down at Rajiv Chowk, I complained to the marshals there but they did nothing and told me to report the matter to a lady marshal. But I could not find a woman marshal around.”
“The ladies’ compartment is usually full in the mornings as one coach is not enough to accommodate all. We are forced to travel in general coach,” said a woman commuter. A DMRC spokesperson said, “We have deployed lady guards to deal with such a situation. Women can also dial the helpline numbers or the control room in case of any such problems they face.”
“DMRC is committed to the safety and security of its women commuters. There are flying squads to check such incidents and fine the offenders. They also hand them over to the police,” the spokesperson added.