Launched by the Haryana Police, the app has a red panic button which, when tapped, connects you to the call centre in Panchkula where the staff inform the nearest police control van of your WhatsApp location.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Launched by the Haryana Police, the app has a red panic button which, when tapped, connects you to the call centre in Panchkula where the staff inform the nearest police control van of your WhatsApp location.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

Women welcome Durga Shakti app, question efficiency

Launched by the Haryana Police, the app has a red panic button which, when tapped, connects you to the call centre in Panchkula where the staff inform the nearest police control van of your WhatsApp location.
Hindustan Times, Gurugram | By Sonali Verma, Gurugram
UPDATED ON AUG 26, 2018 05:59 AM IST

Downloaded more than 10,000 times since its launch on July 12, the Durga Shakti app for women’s safety has steadily gained popularity. While the women in the city applauded the android-based app as a step in the right direction, they have questioned its effectiveness.

“I wouldn’t download the app until I’m 100% certain it will work,” provate sector employee Radhika Iyer said, adding that she has tried using similar apps in other cities but they haven’t been of any help.

Launched by the Haryana Police, the app has a red panic button which, when tapped, connects you to the call centre in Panchkula where the staff inform the nearest police control van of your WhatsApp location.

The app, however, has technical issues that need to be addressed. “While the public response has been good so far, we are working on certain issues, such as better location detection, quicker response time and better connectivity to certain far-off areas,” Gurugram police commissioner KK Rao said, adding areas from where connectivity problems have been reported include sectors 69, 70, 80, 82 to 107.

The sectors are the new developing areas with an average population of 30,000 people and is covered by five police stations.

Rao said the police, on an average, get 13 app alerts in a day, of which 70% are “test calls”, and their response time has been 20 minutes.

Women said the app’s effectiveness of the app can only be checked once it is used. Preeti Bhardwaj, vice-chairperson, state commission for women, said, “We should use the app and report its shortcomings. It should be used to report even minor issues that we ignore.”

Ankita Mallik, a homemaker who lives in DLF Phase 2, said that she still would give the app a try. “An app like this is a good initiative. I wonder what took so long for the app to be introduced,” she said.

Ruchika Sahay, who works as an analyst, said that she hopes measures for women’s safety in the city go beyond the app. “We need to have a multi-pronged approach. We need to work with the men in our families, starting from the time they are little boys. Gender sensitisation is a must,” said Divya Vaishnava, founder of Naari Sangathan.

On Saturday, police officials carried out an awareness drive to inform women about the app and demonstrated how to use it.

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