Written by Piyush Sarna
Inaugurated four years ago by BJP MP Kirron Kher, ‘Raksha’, a women’s safety mobile application of the Chandigarh Police, has been lying defunct for over two years now.
The app, which was reportedly conceptualised by BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi, was launched with much fanfare in several cities across India on January 6, 2015. Any woman in distress has to tap the ‘panic’ button or press the volume button thrice to activate the emergency facility and send an alert to her friends and family. ‘Raksha’ is available on both iOS and Android platforms, and is connected to the control room of UT Police.
Sources said there have been complaints that the app crashes a lot and the ‘panic’ button doesn’t respond. Asked about the same, former Chandigarh DSP Anjitha Chepyana told Chandigarh Newsline that the app is not working due to some technical issues. ‘’Women safety is on the top of our priority list and we are planning to launch a new application before March 31,” she said.
Shortly after its launch in 2015, the ‘Raksha’ application was downloaded 50,000 times and had a rating of 4.3 out of 5. The only facility that is available right now for women in the city is the helpline number ‘1091’, which is available 24×7, and a pick-and-drop by the PCR from 10 pm to 5 am.
Back in 2017, police had said they are working on a newer version of the app, but that is yet to happen. Meanwhile, the Durga Shakti app in neighbouring Panchkula has been a huge success, and receives 5-10 distress calls a day.
Nandini Goel, a student of GCG-11, said, “A good safety app will be of great help to women. Stalkers will think twice before troubling a girl if they know we can use this app. I wonder why police are dragging their feet on this.”
Asked about the app, MP Kher said, ‘’We didn’t launch any application. There is a women helpline and a police control room number, which is available 24×7 for women safety, and that is more than enough.”