Directions issued,officials suspended: Govt action over 10 months to make city saferhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/directions-issued-officials-suspended-govt-action-over-10-months-to-make-city-safer/

Directions issued,officials suspended: Govt action over 10 months to make city safer

Usha Mehra commission,set up after the Dec 16 gangrape,had suggested 23 areas where action was needed.

In the aftermath of the December 16 gangrape and the public outcry which ensued,the government had promised action and various measures to ensure safety of women in the capital.

Ten months on,the “action-taken” by the government has mostly been “directions” to various departments and proceedings against its officials.

In response to the recommendations of the Usha Mehra Commission,the government has put up its action-taken report on the Ministry of Home Affairs website detailing 23 steps it has taken or suggested to improve safety of women in the city.

Of the 23 steps,10 included directions given to different departments,three involved proceedings and suspensions of officials in the transport and traffic departments,and five involved remarks such as “the matter has been taken up with the GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) and Delhi Police”.

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The Commission headed by Justice Usha Mehra was constituted on December 26 to look into the lapses on the part of police and the government machinery and suggest improvements for the security of women in the city.

The Commission submitted its report on February 22. The 160-page report proposed a series of changes,including creating distress signal service for women,one-stop centres for rape victims,crime mapping and gender sensitisation. In its action-taken report,the government mentions that it has either issued directions or taken up the matter with departments concerned in order to improve the situation.

The commission had blamed the poor coordination between the transport department and police for the gangrape of a 23-year-old woman aboard a moving bus.

“Despite being fined many times,there was no action to prevent plying of unauthorised buses,” the commission had mentioned in its report.

In response to the suggestion to improve coordination,the action-taken report says: “Directions have been issued to GNCTD and Delhi Police to meet once a week to sort out issues of coordination… the government have constituted a special task force under the home secretary which has already met twice.”

The commission had also recommended steps for higher infrastructural support for women safety. Taking up the suggestion,the Union Home Ministry had unveiled the idea of “Safe City Project” in six big cities,including Delhi.

The project focuses on the use of high-end technology for better crime detection. It includes installation of a CCTV camera network,a detailed database of suspects and superior surveillance devices.

According to the action report,the project shall also include “distress signal service” for women. However,police sources said the project is still in the pipeline and it will take five years before its implementation begins.

With respect to recommendation for better street-lighting in vulnerable spots,the report says that “instructions have been issued to Delhi Police for better policing”.

Though the vulnerable spots have been identified,Additional Commissioner of Police Ravinder Singh Yadav said “lighting up these areas is a continuous process and it will take time before all the spots are covered”.

Other recommendations of the commission such as regulation of liquor vends,highway policing,creation of toilet facilities and policy for upliftment of women,have been remarked upon as “taken up with GNCTD” in the action-taken report.

Action-reaction

Panel suggestion

* Improve coordination between the transport department and police

* Better infrastructural support for women’s safety

* Better street-lighting in vulnerable spots

Govt action

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* Directions have been issued to GNCTD and Delhi Police to meet once a week

* Home Ministry unveiled the ‘Safe City Project’ in Delhi

* Instructions have been issued to Delhi Police