Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has decided to further strengthen its efforts to help women report sexual harassment in the city transport buses. They will now introduce 100 more panic buttons or ‘Durga alarms’ in buses from Jayanagar, Shantinagar and Banashankari depots.

The BMTC has signed a pact with DURGA (Dare to understand behaviour, respond appropriately and guard ourselves ably) launched by Priya Varadarajan. “Alarms installed earlier have been used not only for prevention of sexual harassment cases, but also for reporting chain snatching and pickpocketing in the BMTC buses,” said Varadarajan, New Indian Express reported.

The idea

“Since February, Durga alarms have been pressed at least 10 times, reveals our interaction with BMTC staffers. Sexual harassment bid on BMTC buses triggered women to press the panic button on four occasions. We are now planning to hold workshops for students of some of the underprivileged schools and colleges in Jayanagar area so that more female commuters get familiar with the panic button facility available for them,” she added. Further, Varadarajan said that all the bus drivers and conductors are being trained on how to make use of these alarms.

“We also travel with the commuters to explain on how the system works. Soon, the panic alarm system will be integrated with the GPS location of the buses, so that every time the alarm is pressed, the Depot Manager and Traffic Command Centre of BMTC get an immediate alert,” she said.

Each alarm costs about Rs 7,000. They have been designed by students of MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology and manufactured by a Bengaluru-based firm.

Read: Four out of five Indian women in cities have faced Public harassment: Survey

How will the Durga alarm work?

These alarms will be placed on the panel between the windows, in such a way that even a child can reach it. Pictorial representations of how the alarm works will also be displayed. If the buzzer is triggered, the driver will take the bus to the left-most part of the road and stop the vehicle. The conductor will be able to see the exact location from where the alarm was raised, and intervene. If the situation cannot be addressed on the spot, the conductor will immediately call the Depot Manager, and take immediate action by calling the police.

Future expansion

As a part of the ‘Safe neighbourhood action programme,’ DURGA team will be working on emergency situations. They plan to identify and train 1,500 ‘Durgas’ by the end of this year to make the city safe.

Read More Stories By Ria Das

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