How will cameras on buses help women?

How will cameras on buses help women?

How will cameras on buses help women?

Karnataka budget has made an allocation for the BMTC to instal CCTV cameras in 1,000 buses.  

Reservations about being monitored are being expressed, besides hope that the cameras might actually help the authorities keep an eye on unruly men and rude conductors.

Keerthana Nagabhushan, HR executive and resident of Vidyaranapura, is optimistic the cameras will help women whose reserved seats are taken up by men.

"In the evenings, many men are drunk and misbehave with women. If these CCTV cameras cover all nooks and corners of the bus, they will make an impact," she says.

Not an impressive plan

A passengers' association is sceptical too. Lekha Adavi, member of Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike, says, "CCTV cameras are not going to do help unless a complaint is filed and an FIR registered."

Most people are not aware that the BMTC has a toll-free number for complaints, including those of sexual harassment, she observes. "The number should be publicised and maintained properly," she says.

Numbers on board

Prerana Chaudhury, first-year student with Mount Carmel College, says, "CCTV cameras won't really help deter pickpockets or increase safety. Reduce the number of passengers in a bus. This by itself makes it easy to keep an eye out."

She feels continuous CCTV monitoring is a breach of privacy.
"With people hanging on to the door and almost falling off from buses, we really need to get our priorities right," she says.

Rude conductors

Akanksha Vinayak, IT professional and resident of Electronics City, hopes the cameras to help on two counts.

"Often one encounters men occupying women's seats and refusing to budge. Even if you ridicule them they don't move," she says.

Another regular complaint is about conductors being rude to passengers.

"They behave badly if one doesn't have exact change. I don't see the possibility of CCTV cameras working in our kind of system but if they do, they will at least leave visual proof of such incidents," adds Akanksha.

Sensitisation a must

Vinay Srinivasan, a member of Women's Safety Committee of BMTC, says, "CCTV cameras will not help much. Most harassment incidents occur in crowded buses where CCTV footage cannot be captured. The cameras don't act as deterrents at all then." He suggests sensitisation of male passengers and measures to check overcrowding."A wide publicity drive on what acts are considered sexual harassment should be undertaken," she says.

And money?

Money for the cameras comes from the Nirbhaya Fund, announced by the Centre in 2013 in the wake of the brutal rape of a woman on a Delhi bus. The funds are
routed via the state.

BMTC helpline

Toll-free number for complaints is 1800-425-1663.

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