Center Calls on Odisha to Accelerate Women’s Safety Transport Platform | Bhubaneswar News

BHUBANESWAR: The Center has expressed dissatisfaction with the state government’s “slow progress” in implementing the vehicle tracking system in public transport vehicles.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has provided financial assistance from the Nirbhaya fund to the states to implement the project for female commuter safety. The state government has been asked to fast-track the women’s safety project.
“The ministry already released funds more than a year ago. Yet progress is minimal. I urge you to give the highest priority to commissioning the project so that the goal of improving women’s safety can be achieved,” Ministry Deputy Secretary Amit Varadan wrote to the state Department of Transportation. last month.
Sources have said that the cost of the proposed project is around Rs 15.40 crore. The Center and the State would respectively share 60% and 40% of the cost of the project. Of the central share of Rs 9.24 crore, the Center paid nearly Rs 4.19 crore to the state government.
As part of the project, all passenger buses, minibuses, school buses and taxis/cabs will be mandatorily equipped with vehicle locating devices (VLT) and panic buttons near the seats for the safety of female passengers. Travelers in distress can push the emergency buttons and expect a quick response from the police. A control room or monitoring center has been set up in Bhubaneswar to receive alerts from female commuters.
“This department reviewed the work on a periodic basis. According to the last review held on October 8, 2021, Odisha updated the status that the selection of an implementing agency was in progress. The civil works of the monitoring center have been completed. But the state has not offered any timetable for the commissioning of the project,” the ministry letter said.
The state government said the project would be rolled out soon. “We will expedite the process of selecting an agency to execute the project,” a state transportation official said.
It should be noted that cases of harassment of female passengers in public transport vehicles have occurred at regular intervals. Although the state government in 2015 ordered bus owners to install CCTV cameras in their vehicles, the order has yet to be implemented.
“The presence of surveillance cameras can ensure the safety of travelers, mainly girls and women. It will also help police identify asocials traveling by bus,” said Richa Mishra, a student.
Many bus owners have expressed difficulty installing CCTV cameras. “Few of us can afford the cameras and their maintenance. Also, there is a possibility of damaging the cameras in accidents,” said bus owner Sitaram Tripathy.

Mara R. Wilmoth