The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has asked the Ministry of Railways to ensure installation of emergency button in trains and in the washrooms to provide better safety to women passengers during travelling. The WCD also wants the Railways to provide berths or seats to a woman travelling alone, close to other female passengers. A woman could exercise this option while booking her ticket.
In a letter to Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, WCD Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has suggested some measures, including display of women helpline numbers in coaches, stations and on tickets. “Women helpline number (toll free helpline number 182 and All India helpline 138) are in use at a few places. However, women are sometimes unaware of such a helpline,” the letter said.
It added that railways should advertise these numbers through stickers in compartments and on stations.
“Unfortunately, trains and railway premises are vulnerable areas for women and cases of sexual assault, molestation keep getting reported, “Menaka said in the letter.
The Central Railway had introduced panic buttons system in women’s coaches of a suburban train two years ago, but it was withdrawn after rampant misusing of the panic buttons.
The WCD Minister said the connectivity to helpline numbers during travel is also an issue. “Railways may improve connectivity in no signal zones or take up the issue with telecom operators for providing shared networks for calling helpline numbers under emergency or SOS call provisions,” she said.
The Minister advised that Railways should consider employing more women not only in RPF but also in other jobs. “Thirty three per cent reservation for women may be ensured at all levels of jobs in railways and at least in RPF”, the letter said.
The WCD Ministry has also suggested that CCTV cameras should be installed in all the trains and their working must be ensured.