cities

Panchkula bus shelters to get panic buttons for women

The civic body has planned to install these panic buttons following a safety audit of a total of 1,246 locations, out of which 897 have been found “uncomfortable” for women, while 112 “frightening” as there is “poor” security and “non-functional street lights”

Panchkula’s bus shelters will now be equipped with panic buttons for women. These will be connected with Police Control Rooms where an alert about the location of the woman will also be sounded on being pressed.

The civic body has planned to install these panic buttons following a safety audit of a total of 1,246 locations, out of which 897 have been found “uncomfortable” for women, while 112 “frightening” as there is “poor” security and “non-functional street lights”.

Panchkula Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal said the panic buttons will be installed so that women feel a sense of security and in case they face any incident, they can report it to the police immediately. “We have designed our new bus queue shelters (work of which is on) in a way that these are not closed so that the women feel secure. And to make them feel safer, we are working on to install these panic buttons. In case they face any kind of issue, be it eve teasing or harassment, they can immediately press these and the message will reach the police,” Jogpal told Chandigarh Newsline.

Jogpal added the technical work on it is on. “Two possibilities are being looked at – one through GPRS and the other through fiber optics passing through each of the 51 bus stops,” he said. The civic body, with the help of an NGO, has already conducted the safety audit of 1,246 locations in the city, which included lanes and main roads spread over an area of 335 km. Conducted over a span of four months by the women volunteers of the NGO, the audit was on nine parameters – streetlights during night, openness, visibility, footpath, security, public transport, crowd, gender diversity and feeling (uncomfortable, frightening or comfortable).

The score of presence of security was least with just 0.4 out of 5 marks. As far as availability of public transport is concerned, the report specified that in 760 locations, which is 61 per cent, there were no bus stops within 10 minutes walking distance, and remaining were either distant or not properly lit.

In its recommendation, the report said, “Most of the audit area has been rated poor in terms of accessibility to bus stops. Para-transit stands need to be constructed for informal means of transport that is auto-rickshaws or e-rickshaws. Lighting and footpaths also need to be improved around the bus stops and auto stands.”

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