Make rail commute safer for women, says World Bank CEO, as she takes a ride on Mumbai local | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Make rail commute safer for women, says World Bank CEO, as she takes a ride on Mumbai local

Upon asking one thing the women would like be to improved in the suburban trains, Kristalina Georgieva received unanimous answer: upgradation of safety and security measures in suburban trains

mumbai Updated: Mar 01, 2017 01:29 IST
Prajakta Chavan Rane
Kristalina  Georgieva travelled in a second class compartment of an Andheri-bound local train form Churchgate to Dadar and interacted with the women commuters.
Kristalina Georgieva travelled in a second class compartment of an Andheri-bound local train form Churchgate to Dadar and interacted with the women commuters. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT )

Marine Lines resident Dr Hema Mer had an unusual Tuesday morning. When she boarded her train to work, she met the World Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva.

Georgieva, as part of her visit to the city, travelled in the second-class women’s compartment from Churchgate to Dadar to find out from Mumbai’s women commuters what they needed to feel safer on trains.

“The women workforce is underutilised in India. It is important to provide them with safe commuting and mobility so that more women join workforce, said Georgieva.

This is possible, she said, by installing more CCTV cameras, improving lighting, increasing policing and also educating the people to respect women, so that women can commute fearlessly 24x7.

The World Bank CEO’s agenda during her visit is to meet key policy-makers and discuss a slew of projects with the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The World Bank funds the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) — one of the most ambitious infrastructure initiatives undertaken to improve rail and road connectivity in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

Under phase I and II, the suburban rail systems got a boost with new rakes and funds for additional lines.

The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation, which is implementing these projects, is in talks with the World Bank to fund phase III of MUTP, worth Rs10,500 crore.

Women comprise 22% of all suburban passengers in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). This means, of 75 lakh daily passengers on the Central and Western Railways, more than 16 lakh are women.

But not enough is being done to ensure their safety, especially of those who work odd hours. World Bank authorities also said they are also looking at improving bus and metro transport, so that more people are encouraged to take public transport.

“For any city to grow, good mobility options are important so people prefer public transport over private vehicles. Private vehicles contribute to both congestion and pollution,” Georgieva said.

Apart from expansion of the suburban rail network, the World Bank’s focus is to provide high-quality, but affordable travel to suburban commuters. “We would be happy to continue funding for safer travel, one that allows the city to be more productive and where more women can take the train safely.”

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