Crimes against women in India should rightfully put anyone to shame, but that’s not what’s happening. Hate crimes and sexual violence has for long been the norm of the day here, only, awareness seems marginally heightened at present. It is about time some serious steps to ensure safety when commuting/travelling is brought into effect. A novel way to ensure just this has been introduced by the Jharkhand Traffic Police. They have come up with a plan to introduce 200 pink roofed auto rickshaws in Ranchi to be used exclusively by women.
These rickshaws are in the final stages of receiving approval from the local transportation department, and will be equipped with a panic button and GPS. This will allow women to raise an alarm if they sense trouble, and the vehicle can be traced at the earliest. The ambitious plan sees traffic police trying to rope in woman auto rickshaw drivers for these pink autos failing which they will have to resort to male drivers.. If that can’t be achieved rightaway, male drivers of these rickshaws will be specially screened, and given specific identity cards. The project makes some sense and will try restore some dignity in the face of daily instances of men casually elbowing women in public places, and transport.
These auto rickshaws are being introduced with both petrol and diesel engines. However, it is yet to be decided whether they will run on public private partnership or otherwise. Special parking zones are being demarcated and considered for parking of these pink auto rickshaws failing which they will park in areas allotted for regular auto rickshaws. Not that having separate public transport for women solves anything ‘cept highlighting absolute lawlessness, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Of course it’s left to be seen whether hooligans who major in women molestation, whistling, jostling, and singing will now simply stand in queue waiting to put intended commuters in distress, or will the police force exercise their public service obligations, and ensure safety.