Measures by Western Railway: Platforms to play special jingles for women safety

Commuters on Western Railway (WR) will soon be able to hear these jingles, especially meant for women commuters, in addition to other announcements at the stations.

Written by Neha Kulkarni | Mumbai | Published: June 30, 2016 1:17:32 am

“You have a right to report”, “you have a right to feel safe”, “note where it happened, the platform and number of the train, note the date and the time”, “take a photo if you can”, “don’t be quiet, speak up”.

Commuters on Western Railway (WR) will soon be able to hear these jingles, especially meant for women commuters, in addition to other announcements at the stations.

In a bid to ensure women passengers’ safety, WR’s Railway Protection Force along with Amnesty International have come together to encourage women to report harassment cases and also to simultaneously sensitise officials towards such reports.

The collaboration involves holding sessions on gender sensitivity and sexual harassment for RPF officials in Mumbai from June to September. The aim remains to teach officials how to handle complaints of sexual harassment on trains and railway platforms.

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“The RPF wants to ensure that women can approach us freely with their concerns, and that we can help promptly. We have a limited number of women police personnel to prevent sexual harassment in trains.

The partnership will help increase awareness among passengers about women safety and also help us improve our existing knowledge in dealing with incidents of harassment,” said Anand Jha, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, Western Railway (Mumbai division).

Gopika Bashi, Senior Campaigner for Women’s Rights at Amnesty International India said, “Local trains are Mumbai’s lifeline, and this is an opportunity for us to work together for the safety of thousands of women travelers.The tie-up will help railway officials to handle complaints of sexual harassment with greater sensitivity and awareness.”

The first session was held on June 15 which was attended by 30 RPF officials from the WR. Richa Repaswal, one of the RPF officials who attended the session said, “The session was aimed at sensitising us towards understanding the complaints of female commuters. It made us understand the trouble a female may face while complaining against any issue. Being a female police official, I was motivated to approach female complainants better.”

Adding to how female commuters must take this seriously, Beena Patel, commuter on the WR said, “I think it is a good initiative by the Western Railway to make female commuters more aware of their right to report. Though we see a notice board explaining about the helpline number, commuters hardly take notice of the same. The jingles are more likelier to get registered in commuters’ minds.” The jingles will be played from the first week of July.

Talk-back system

IN a pilot project to ensure better safety for women, the WR will implement a feedback system in the ladies coaches of two rakes. The system will enable women to talk with the guard on the local through a microphone fitted inside the ladies compartment, in case of a trouble.

This comes after the failure of emergency panic button in the ladies coaches in trains on Central Railway which failed to garner any positive response from commuters. With detention in services upon pressing the button each time on a false alarm, authorities claimed of doing away with adding more panic buttons in services. But the system will only allow ladies to let guards know of any trouble within the boggie.

“We understood that the problem related to a panic button was that it led to stopping the train service at immediate moment which led to bunching of trains. To do away with the problem, we are thinking of implementing a talk-back system which will only allow women to alert the guard on the local, in distressed condition, “said Mukul Jain, DRM, Western Railway.

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