There is fresh hope for women who frequently use trains for their commutes, with the railway ministry finally granting their long-pending demand for closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in women’s compartments of suburban as well as long distance trains.
On Thursday, the railway ministry announced it had made provisions in the 2015-2016 railway budget for the installation of surveillance cameras in the women’s compartments, on pilot basis.
A trial is already underway in the suburban railway network and the railways are working out the expenses they would incur for full-fledged installation.
Instead of installing cameras that are stationary, the railway authorities are planning to install rotating multi-dimensional cameras. Three rotating cameras can do the work of eight fixed cameras. The authorities are also discussing the network required for transmission of footage with the Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL).
“We can use IP-based networks or wireless networks to transmit the footage. We are considering using the IP-based network, as it costs less. The decision-making process is in its final stages,” said Sunil Kumar Sood, general manager, Central Railway.
“This is a welcome move, but will be effective only if it is implemented in a time-bound manner,” said Lata Argade, vice-president of the Suburban Railway Passengers Federation.
The railway ministry has also started a helpline, 182, which women can call up in case of any emergency.
In the past, there have been several attacks on women passengers. Criminal offences on the suburban railway network rose by 16% in 2014, compared to 2013. The offences included murder, rape, attempt to murder, assault, molestation and theft. A total of 73 cases of crimes against women on trains were lodged in 2014, of which 61 were solved. Fifty five of the FIRs were registered for complaints of molestation. “Installation of CCTVs is welcome, but police presence should also improve in stations and suburban trains,” said Rabina Sheikh, Mumbra resident.