The Delhi Police and a few other organisations are trying out various measures to ensure women’s safety in the national capital. Lieutenant Governor, Anil Baijal, held a meeting with the Delhi police recently to get an update on how things are moving on this front.
This is the third of a series of meetings the LG has been holding to discuss the issue of safety. The initiative of increased patrolling by the cops on Delhi roads was initially addressed and they have said that a PCR van could patrol an area of 1 square km and respond to distress calls within six minutes.
The other issue was lighting up dark spots in the city. The police have said that of the 10,000 dark spots, 7,000 have been lit up with street lights and the rest will also be operational by July end.
On the issue of having GPS trackers in public transport, the police officials assured the LG that regular enforcement drives are being carried out and penal action being taken in cases of violation.
“All stakeholders must ensure a focused and coordinated strategy to make Delhi a safe city for women,” stressed the LG, reported TOI.
Talking about public transport, a recent study has revealed that in Delhi, more women than men take public transport to commute from one place to another. The study — released by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) and Safetipin, a personal safety mobile application — also indicated that in low-income neighbourhoods of Delhi, women walk more than men.
“In one of these areas, we found that 52% women walk against merely 27% men. Interestingly, 21% residents in that settlement tend to cycle. But, in that, only 2% were found to be women and they were primarily pillion riders,” said Sonal Shah from ITDP, reported Hindustan Times.
She added, “Across cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, we found that 37% women walk against 27% men. Similarly, 30% women used public transport against 25% men,” she added.
The point to be noted is that Safetipin is also the organisation that helped the AAP public works department find dark spots in the city. In an earlier interaction with SheThePeople.TV, the founder of Safetipin, Kalpana Vishwanath, said, “When women start feeling safe even at late hours, more of them will be seen out at night just like men. So street lights are a good way of making the streets more active even at night.”
The travelling pattern of men and women indicate that there is a need to work together to create a ‘gender responsive’ urban transport in the city.
“While women constitute around half of India’s population, their labour force participation in urban areas is as low as 15.5%. Ultimately, transportation is the fulcrum that allows women to participate in the workforce. However, our urban transport policies remain gender-blind largely,” Shreya Gadepalli, Director-South Asia at ITDP, told HT.
While studies and efforts by authoritative institutions are taking place, there is still a long way for the city to reach the safe zone for women. For Delhi women, there is always the constant fear of being groped and molested.