Safe railway commute? GRP, RPF need to go beyond helplines, say women commuters
Mumbai city news: More than 16 lakh women travel on the CR and WR dailymumbai Updated: Jul 14, 2017 09:56 IST
In the wake of recent incidents of molestation on trains, the government railway police (GRP) and railway protection force (RPF) said they are taking steps to ensure the commute is safer for women.
More than 16 lakh women travel on the central and western railway daily. The GRP and RPF control rooms get more than 1,000 calls daily, of which a maximum are from women commuters.
“We have instructed our officers manning the control room to take all calls from women seriously,” said Niket Kaushik, commissioner of GRP. “They have been asked to send help to distressed women at the earliest.”
Kaushik said more than 200 additional guards from the Maharashtra State Security Commission (MSSC) have replaced home guards.
“The guards are deployed in women’s coaches from 9pm to 6am and they patrol the platforms through the day. “We have asked the railways to restrict the entry and exit points and install ticket-swiping machines like Metro,” said Kaushik.
He said they have started conducting surprise bag checks as an added security measure. “We have deployed more women personnel to deal with women robbers and beggars,” said an officer.
Along with the trains, the western railway posts its emergency numbers on Twitter and other social media. “We put up posters to create awareness about our emergency numbers. We plan to take up regular campaigns to educate women about the helpline numbers,” said an RPF officer.
Women commuters, however, are not impressed. “There are very few guards in women’s coaches at odd hours. The talk-back system, which was to help us get in touch with guards at the touch of a button, is yet to be installed in compartments,” said Niyati Sharma, a student and a regular commuter.