Women panel to call radio taxi CEOs for security system review

The Delhi Commission for Women plans to call the CEOs of the six radio taxi companies now allowed to operate in the city to review the level of security they offer.

After the alleged rape in an Uber cab, only Mega Cabs, Meru Cabs, Easy Cabs, Chanson Cabs, Yo Cabs and Air Cab radio taxi companies are now legal in the city.

“The meeting will highlight three main issues. The radio taxi companies should thoroughly conduct the verification process of drivers and ensure that every cab is GPS-enabled. Also, they have to strictly follow the guidelines laid out by the transport department,” said Barkha Singh, Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW).

“Even though we can raise the sensitivity of the companies through review meetings, the police has to check if the rules are being followed,” she said.The Commission is also planning to instruct NGOs to conduct self-defence training modules actively among girls.

A self-defence module definitely would help women be more confident in the streets, said activists.

But training women to defend themselves should not be looked upon by the state as an alternative to enhancing security in the transport infrastructure, they added.

Also, pepper spray, often carried by women for their safety check may not really help, especially in an enclosed space, like a taxi.  

Downloading a safety app for precarious situations can be a good idea, said Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research. “One should always run a trial after downloading it.”

“But we demand a white paper from the government citing what exactly it has done so far in enhancing safety for women. How have they streamlined the whole process of transportation to make it secure?” said Kumari.

There is also a need to counsel women that incidents of sexual assault should not be a deterrent in women leading their normal lives, said activists. The onus should be on the enforcement agency to ensure that there is no safety slack in the system.

“It is necessary that we equip women to be emotionally strong and not impose restrictions on themselves. Self-defence training is necessary so that they do not feel vulnerable,” said social activist Rina Banerjee. 

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