Life on the Mumbai Local: Mobile app to check crimes against women tests waters

The Railway Protection Force (RPF), WR, in collaboration with Eyewatch Technologies Pvt. Limited, launched the app in October to report acts of sexual harassment against women at the earliest.

Mumbai | Updated: December 13, 2017 8:56:31 am
Minor girl gang raped in UP The app allows the user to add up to eight emergency contacts. One can send alerts to the RPF control centre by pressing the power button four times which would also notify the user’s guardians by a call and text message.  (Representational photo)

MALAVIKA RANGARAJAN

Two months since its launch, Eyewatch, a mobile app of the Western Railway (WR), has had 2,000 downloads. But the WR, with a daily average ridership of 35 lakh, expects more commuters to use the app to act against or prevent crimes against women.

Shubhangi More (29), a regular commuter, believes Eyewatch helps her raise an alarm against eve-teasers. More, who has tested the application, believes it helps women report crimes better to the authorities concerned. “I have witnessed my friend being eve-teased by a man disguised as a beggar… This app is a useful tool that lets me report such acts, however minor they may seem. It works much faster than I expected,” said More, who boards a train from Mahim to Dadar to get to work.

The Railway Protection Force (RPF), WR, in collaboration with Eyewatch Technologies Pvt. Limited, launched the app in October to report acts of sexual harassment against women at the earliest. Women commuters have used the app to get speedy response to a panic call.

Vishal Kapadia, developer of Eyewatch Railways, said, “There have been more than 2,000 downloads since the release of the app and we are expecting the numbers to reach 10,000 by March 2018. There are hundreds of women currently testing the app at random hours throughout the day but we are still waiting to resolve real-time cases.”
The application allows the user to send audio, video and location details to an emergency control centre manned on a continuous basis. “It works on a geo-coded system which allows the centre to track the victim faster. Only at the press of a button, women commuters can be assured of help reaching to them,” Vishal added.

The app allows the user to add up to eight emergency contacts. One can send alerts to the RPF control centre by pressing the power button four times which would also notify the user’s guardians by a call and text message. Officials said they planned to introduce the app also for users travelling on the Central Railway.

Arpana Breed (42), another commuter, added, “It is essential for working women to have this app. I tested it out of curiosity and I was happy to get a response within a few seconds.”

Ravindra Bhaker, Chief Public Relations Officer, WR, said, “People are not aware of the app. There are almost 35 lakh daily average commuters travelling on the western line and we expect many regular users to use it, including the men. We have done mock drills six months prior to the app’s installation and it has proven to be highly effective in case of emergencies.”

Officials said the app had not received any call requiring the intervention of RPF. “We are giving out pamphlets at stations, created demonstration videos and publicised on social media. An increase in the number of downloads isn’t sufficient. We need people to understand the usefulness of the app,” Bhaker added.

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