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  • Friday, October, 2021| Today's Market | Current Time: 11:08:04
  • Our Special Correspondent

    Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan guarantees his “government   is duty bound to ensure the safety of women”. But,  Pinarayi’s words have little impact on the State owned  Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).  Though KSRTC, has on paper many ‘ambitious’ plans to ensure safe travel of women commuters, the on board harassment  and  incidents of eve teasing are  continuing unabated. To ensure women’s safety, in August 2015, the then Congress-led UDF government had announced a plan to install GPS and CCTV cameras in public transport vehicles, but this   has not deterred the perverts taunting the women. It’s pathetic that the females feel unsafe to travel without a male companion at night in this Gods Own Country.

     To contain the attack on women commuters, particularly those travelling during late evenings or nigh hours the incumbent CPIM-led LDF government ostensibly announced measures including   ‘Safe Stay’ to women travelers at its depots across the state. But in practice women commuters have “harrowing tales” to narrate.

     KSRTC cannot be absolved of the despiteful incidents against women, for the simple reason that the government run public transporter does not show enough responsibility to ensure safety of the women passengers both on board and those waiting for the bus. For instance, after 8 PM the KSRTC buses prefer to skip the bus stations and stop far outside the bus stations, for reasons best known to the operators. The waiting passengers, including women and children are forced to run through the public road to catch the bus.

    A young lady lawyer who had to wait at KSRTC bus station Thiruvalla for over for three hours in the late evening for a bus to the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram, narrates her upsetting experience; “After a day’s hectic professional engagements in another district I reached KSRTC bus station to catch a bus to Thiruvanathapuram where I live. When asked the enquiry counter at the bus station, I was assured with a firm reply that there were buses to Thiruvanathapuram from Thiruvalla station in every thirty minutes. But even after waiting for two hours, when there was no sign of any bus to my destination, at about 8 pm I asked again to the official in the counter and he said, after eight in the evening most of the buses skip the station, so better  cross the main road and wait there. It was raining heavy coupled with power failure. However, with luggage on both hands and one on my shoulder I managed to cross over. Waiting for another thirty minutes plus a bus to Thiruvanathapuram rushed in and stopped at least 500 meters ahead of the spot where I was waiting. Had to rush with the luggage and finally managed to board the bus. This was on 12th of this month.”

    According to the young lady lawyer “it was a frightening experience. Drunken miscreant loitering inside the bus station and hardly any sign of Police presence in the vicinity. I wonder what sort of safety are the government and KSRTC assuring women travelling alone in the night hours.”

    The visibly annoyed lady lawyer further added, “it’s evident the neither the elected minister nor the management (KSRTC)  has any concern to the safety of the women travelers. The transport minister’s aborted move to open liquor counters in KSRTC bus station would have surely compromised the safety of commuters. This initiative would have turned the KSRTC bus stations into a happy haven for tipplers on the move.”

    When asked on the KSRTC buses eluding authorized bus station and choosing to stop away from it during the night hours, a senior official   from the Transport Minister’s office said “only long distance Scania buses are exempted from reporting to the station (KSRTC) in the night hours. All other (KSRTC) buses have to enter the bus stations.

    On the issue of Police surveillance and special aid cell for women in KSRTC stations he said, the Pink Police was expected to look into such issue concerning law and order.

    In fact, Kerala police introduced ‘Pink Beat’ patrol for enhancing the safety for women and children in public places. The Pink Beat team is supposed to have specially trained women police personnel.  Who will patrol on KSRTC and private stage carriers and will be present at bus stops, schools, colleges and other public places. The Pink Patrol team is under the District Police Chief.

    The Pink Police was supposed to monitor places where women are present. Female police officers are to conduct shadow patrols.  A shadow team is to be vigilant on crowded places such as bus stops and schools, as per the protocol. But “the protocol seldom adhered to.”

    Those who pretend to promote the cause of women’s safety and empowerment may call to mind Mahatma Gandhi’s  thought provoking words ;“The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has achieved independence.”

    Source pninews.com