For the Railways, women's safety is paramount, and the 'panic button' is the latest in a range of measures to ensure the same.
The Indian Railways has decided to dedicate the year 2018, as the year of women’s safety. Based on passenger feedback, the national transporter is taking steps to ensure that women feel secure while travelling in trains. For example, one initiative is the introduction of women-only coaches, in the middle of trains. The coaches will have wire meshes to prevent miscreants from entering through windows. The Railways will make special provision for security, as well as ensure the coaches are a different colour. Read more about that here.
In another initiative, the suburban railways in Mumbai launched an app called ‘Eyewatch Railways’, which has an alert button. In distress, women can tap the alert button, or press their phone’s power button four times to notify the RPF Control Centre for immediate assistance. Read more about that here.
The latest initiative to promote women’s safety comes from the North-Eastern Railways, that plans to deploy women police personnel on trains during nocturnal hours, and install ‘panic buttons’ in coaches.
This will be useful, as until now, women would depend on each other for help and try using phone-calls and SMSes to find assistance. A ‘panic button’ will instantly inform relevant authorities if a woman’s safety is being threatened during the journey.
The Chief Public Relations Officer of the North-Eastern Railways, Sanjay Yadav, told the Indian Express, that as part of the Railways umbrella plan to concentrate on women and child safety this year, the authorities plan to deploy women police personnel in suburban trains, during night hours. Also, the RPF will recruit more women for ramping up security.
The Public Relations Officer went on to mention that ‘panic buttons’ have been inspired by reports of untoward incidents involving solo women travellers on trains. The buttons will be linked with the guard coach and will be placed at convenient spots, above electric switches. Women finding themselves in trouble can press the button which will send the coach number to the railway staff present in the train, informing them of the emergency.
The measure might be implemented this year, Yadav went on to say.
The other initiatives mentioned by the officer are:-
1. A month-wise calendar of activities focusing on women’s security and gender sensitisation.
2. An upgrade of the all-India security helpline.
3. CCTV cameras in ladies coaches of suburban trains with live feeds, if possible.
4. CCTV cameras on platforms, to keep an eye on ladies coaches during train-halts.
5. Proposed alterations and amendments in the Railways Act, to enforce stricter punishments for offences against women and a special drive to prosecute offenders.
Kudos to Indian Railways, for pushing the envelope in trying to make its passengers feel as safe as possible.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)