Nirbhaya’s programs are still at bidding stage – The New Indian Express

Express press service

CHENNAI: It has been over four years since Rs 425 crore was sanctioned by the Nirbhaya Fund for women’s safety in Chennai. Today, most projects are still at the bidding stage.

The Greater Chennai Corporation has canceled a Rs 120 crore tender, which was supposed to be implemented under the Nirbhaya Fund’s ‘Women’s Safety in Public Places’ scheme.

The tender to install CCTV cameras in 3,500 crime against women hotspots was launched at the end of 2020, after approval by the Supreme Committee of the Chief Secretary.

However, following the change of government, the tender was abandoned and new tenders were launched for other projects under the same programme.

Of the Rs 425.06 crore, 60% is supported by the Center and the rest by the State. The main stakeholders are Chennai Corporation, Chennai Police, Department of Social Welfare and Women’s Empowerment and Metropolitan Transportation Corporation.

The project was to be implemented in three years from 2018, but the Center has extended the duration of the project until March 2022, at the request of the States.

A total of Rs 173.59 crore is allocated to the city corporation.

“The civic body has obtained details of critical junctions focusing on crime mapped areas; 3,500 points in the city have been pre-selected for the installation of surveillance cameras and tenders have been launched. There are over 5,000 such critical junctions and the original plan was to map all locations,” a source said.

The company has only completed three (worth Rs 26.6 crore) of 10 different projects under the Nirbhaya Fund, including remote monitoring of street lamps, hiring of project management consultants and experts for Gender Lab who would develop tools to solicit citizen feedback on women’s safety.

Regarding infrastructure, little has been done and one official admitted that the cancellation of the previous tender was the reason for the delay in the implementation of the projects.

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Asked why the tender was dropped, the official said: “Even the police are installing surveillance cameras. So we didn’t want to do the same thing.

Projects currently in the pipeline for the company include safety monitoring at the company’s schools, menstrual hygiene management, construction of a shelter for homeless disabled women and mobile toilets.

A sum of Rs 165.80 crore has been allocated for seven projects to be implemented by the police.

A total of 52 vehicles were procured for female police patrols at a cost of Rs 8.28 crore. Counselors and social workers have been hired at a cost of Rs 0.55 crore.

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“The cyber cell for crimes against women and GIS mapping are ongoing,” a senior police official said. The other projects are still in the implementation phase.

The MTC received Rs 72.71 crore for the installation of surveillance cameras.

The plan is to install three cameras in each of the 2,100 buses. The Department of Social Welfare and Women’s Empowerment has been awarded 12.96 crores for the re-establishment of 181 women’s helplines.

This TNIE series examines the issues faced by women in public spaces and what can be done to address them

Mara R. Wilmoth