In the backdrop of the recent assault on an American woman on a train, the issue of security of women traveling on trains and at railway station premises has once again come under scanner.
To improve security on suburban local trains, an association of women commuters had suggested consolidating women’s coaches at the end of the train, but till date, no development has been seen on this front.
“We have been making the demand of clubbing women’s coaches near the motormen’s and guards’ coach so in an emergency they could be alerted immediately. Presently, if there is a problem, by the time passenger from middle women’s compartment reaches the guard or motorman, the train would have left the station,” said Lata Argade, president of Suburban Railway Pravasi Federations.
Some passenger associations, however, claimed that just consolidating the compartments would not assure safety of women commuters.
Instead, action should be taken on miscreants loitering in the station premises.
“Mostly, such assaults are carried out by miscreants under the influence of drugs or alcohol. At stations such as Sewri, Mahim, Kurla, Bandra harbour line, Govandi and Mankhrud, a number of people in inebriated condition can be seen. Immediate action should be taken against such people loitering in the station premises,” said Shailendra Kamble, convenor of the Pravas Adhikar Andolan Samiti.
Meanwhile, women commuters complained about lack of police presence in trains and at stations. “We rarely see police manning women’s compartments. At times, even at stations there is no police presence,” said Revati Jadhav, 19, a BSC student and Tilaknagar resident.
Mukesh Nigam, divisional railway manager, CR, said, “There was a proposal to club the women’s coaches, but lots of women’s associations opposed it owing to the inconvenience it could cause. Therefore, it has been put on hold.”