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Women’s safety: Delhi Police begin training 5,000 cab drivers near IGI Airport

To ensure women’s safety, amid repeated incidents of harassment by cab drivers in the Capital, Delhi Police and a city-based NGO are together training taxi drivers near Delhi’s IGI Airport.

delhi Updated: Dec 03, 2017 18:02 IST
Ruchika Garg
Ruchika Garg
Hindustan Times
Delhi Police,SPYM,NGO
Delhi Police officers impart training to cab drivers near IGI Airport’s Terminal 3. (Prabhas Roy/ HT Photo )

Taking a late-night cab? Worried about facing trouble with the driver if you’re a woman? To put such fears to rest, Delhi Police have initiated a campaign aimed at changing cabbies’ attitude and behaviour. With the help of the Delhi-based NGO, Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM), police personnel are teaching basic etiquette to cab drivers near Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. The programme will cover some 5,000 drivers of kali-peeli (black-and-yellow) taxis that operate in the vicinity of the airport.

‘We’re training the cab drivers on how to interact with clients, [and educating them on] the negative effects of alcohol. Training classes are held thrice a week’ — Sanjay Bhatia, DCP, Airport, Delhi Police

Giving details of the programme, Sanjay Bhatia, DCP, Airport, Delhi Police, says, “We’ve observed that the cab drivers wait for at least six-seven hours (around the airport) to get a passenger. In the meantime, most of them take to drinking alcohol, watching pornographic content, and getting into fights with each other. We feel that such habits can prove to be a security threat, especially to women passengers, because anyone can lose their senses in an inebriated state, and so can the cab drivers. Though no case has been registered in this regard, we can’t wait for an untoward incident to happen. So, we’re training the cab drivers on how to interact with clients, [and educating them on] the negative effects of alcohol. Training classes are held thrice a week.”

The training programme, which began a few days ago, will run for a year. Delhi Police have plans to assess its effectiveness at the end of that year. “It has been just a week since we started training the cab drivers. After one year, we will do a survey to evaluate the impact of the training,” informs Bhatia.

In their free time, the taxi drivers have now started reading books and studying useful things. (Prabhas Roy/ HT Photo )

Rajesh Kumar, founder of SPYM, says, “Cab drivers are the first to encounter tourists and play a major role in the image-building of our country, India. So, we decided to make them realise how important it is to have the right manners and behave politely, and to not drink during duty hours, among other things.” He adds, “We also ask cabbies about their side of the story, and if they have any personal issues, we organise separate counselling sessions, alongside the scheduled training sessions. In the four-five classes that have taken place in the past one week, more than 200 drivers have been trained.”

‘Cab drivers are the first to encounter tourists and play a major role in the image-building of our country, India. So, we decided to make them realise how important it is to have the right manners and behave politely’ — Rajesh Kumar, founder, SPYM

The cab drivers are happy to receive the training. Abdul (name changed), a cab driver who used to regularly drink and was introduced to alcohol by fellow cab drivers at the airport, gave up the habit after the counselling.

There are many others who have quit or cut down on drinking and improved their habits overall. Ved Prakash, a cab driver for the past nine years, says, “Classes like these should be conducted regularly. We have ample time in between trips. Through these sessions, we get to learn a lot of new things. Also, counselling really helps us in releasing stress.” Mukesh Kumar, another cab driver in the vicinity, says, “Something is better than nothing. If we’re getting trained in [correct] manners, it’s for our good and we are quite positive about it. Now, I read books and study in my free time.”

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First Published: Dec 02, 2017 18:32 IST