State-run buses secure but bus stops still vulnerable

Much has changed about state-run buses in Delhi a year after the gang rape of a young physiotherapy intern.

No private buses and cabs are allowed to halt at bus stands. But does the monopoly of state-run buses ensure better safety for women?

There are some 4,500 bus stands in Delhi that remain deserted at night. 

“We are only operators. Security at bus stops is the responsibility of Delhi Police,” Delhi Transport Corporation Senior Manager R S Minhas said.

After the gang rape, 100 constables were deployed in 92 bus services that operate at night, but there is none to guard bus stands. The constables are Home Guards who are on the payroll of the Home Ministry, Minhas said.

“Drivers and conductors have been asked to get help from police whenever any incident happens. They are supposed to either approach a police control room van or go to a nearby police station.”

At Munirka bus stand from where the physiotherapy intern was picked up by a private bus, some 40 CCTV cameras keep watch on all the activities at the bus stand, on the roads and in the two nearby markets. 

A policeman deployed near Munirka bus stand said the work is in its preliminary phase. “It is impossible to have policemen guarding all bus stops at night. It is the job of the DTC to have constables at these bus stops,” he said. 

He said that even on the day when the gang rape happened, a constable was deployed at the bus stand. “It was cold and he was sitting at the nearby Anupam restaurant,” he added. 

In late evening, Munirka, as many other suburbs of Delhi, gets cut off from rest of the city. There are few bus services that connect Munirka to the rest of the city. “There are only a few regular bus services at night, most of which take you to JNU campus,” local resident Simran said.

Mihas said Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung three days ago ordered to place six advertisements on women’s security, three each in Hindi and English, in all DTC buses. “We have completed our work on 3,120 low-floor buses,” he said.

‘Stalkers Beware! It can put you behind bars’ one advertisement issued by Delhi Police reads. All the advertisements have the women’s helpline number ‘1091’ written on them.

DTC bus drivers and conductors also get gender sensitisation workshops at the time of recruitment. “There is refresher training as well,” Mihas said. The DTC official said the corporation has issued tenders for surveillance cameras and two each will be installed in 1,000 buses as part of a pilot project. “Camera footage will be stored in a system every week,” he said.

In Bangalore, 180 state-run buses have installed cameras as a trial.

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