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Gurgaon: Lack of last mile connectivity makes it a jittery ride home for city women

Women commuters they are forced to board autos that aren’t a safe bet at night

gurgaon Updated: Dec 17, 2017 23:47 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times
Last mile connectivity,gurugram,Women feel unafe
With recent cases of some cab drivers being booked for allegedly molesting women passengers, family members count anxious minutes when women board cabs for a ride home at night.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)

The lack of last mile connectivity in Gurgaon has emerged as a major security threat for commuters, especially working women. Most working women say they have little option but to rely on a family member to pick them up from a transit point or board auto-rickshaws which do not inspire confidence of a safe ride home.

With recent cases of some cab drivers being booked for allegedly molesting women passengers, family members count anxious minutes when women board cabs for a ride home at night. Thin police presence at such transit points further aggravate the woes of commuters, especially women, taking a ride home at night.

The murder of 27-year-old auto executive, who boarded a shared cab and was later found dead in the Mahipalpur forest area of Delhi, has only made people relying on shared rides more jittery.

Mukta Sharma (26), a daily commuter who resides on Sohna Road, said, “It is not a safe ride home from the Metro station every day. The auto drivers often persuade us to board their vehicles and, if refused, start abusing us. We also can’t lodge complaints against them for fear of retaliation. Our family members spend anxious minutes till we reach home.”

Neha Jha, an IT executive working in Okhla and living in Sushant Lok-1 said, “On Wednesday, I got down at MG Road Metro station and while walking down the staircase, an auto driver asked me to board his vehicle. I refused several times, but he kept on pestering me. As I ignored him and walked on, he threatened and abused me.”

Several women commuters have come forward with complaints of being touched inappropriately or being ogled at by drivers outside Metro stations.

On June 16 night, a 37-year-old fashion designer was molested at Gurgaon’s Iffco Chowk metro station. Police said she got off at the Iffco Chowk station around 11pm and was walking towards the exit when an unknown man touched her inappropriately from behind.

On June 21, two women were molested on MG Road while they were walking down after buying liquor from a vend near Sahara Mall. They claimed that the men followed them and while they were about to board an auto-rickshaw, they groped them. A case was registered at Sonipat police station and the accused was arrested.

“We are forced to board auto-rickshaws, as there’s no other public transport after 10pm. The internal roads are dark and isolated and auto drivers often take dimly-lit streets or roads with no streetlights, making us feel unsafe,” Megha Khurana, a resident of Ardee City, said.

The women further alleged that auto drivers often charge unreasonable fares after dark, knowing fully well that commuters have little or no option but to give in to their demands.

“There’s no point approaching policemen posted at these points, as they ignore our pleas for action and ask us to visit police stations instead,” Mayuri Puri, another regular commuter, said.

Read I Sharp rise in rape, molestation cases make women feel unsafe in Gurgaon

Most auto drivers park on the right of the Gurgaon expressway and prefer to take passengers who are headed to places close to their homes. Commuters said there’s virtually no public transport after 10pm on the left of the expressway.

“Earlier, my parents thought that cabs are safe. But after learning about cases of cabbies being booked for molestation, they asked to take an auto for the ride back home. On days, my father picks me up at the Metro station,” Parul Tripathi, a resident of Sector 17, said.

The Gurgaon police claimed to have stepped up deployment on MG Road and near all Metro stations at night.

“The situation is better as compared to previous years. Women officers are deployed at these spots and PCR vans are stationed at night outside Metro stations. Anyone facing harassment should immediately report the incident to the police control room. Prompt action will be taken on such complaints,” Sudeep Kumar, station house officer, DLF Phase 2 police station, said.

First Published: Dec 17, 2017 23:47 IST