“Technology is solely meant to make human life better and what better than using it for the security of women?” - Ravi Shankar Prasad
As incidents of violence against women continue to rise in the country, efforts to amp things up in the security department to counter the same seem to be on an upward trajectory too. About a month ago, the Government of India decided that no mobile phone can be sold in the country from January, 2017 without an in-built panic button and GPS, while apps that make it easy for a woman to indicate if she’s in danger are a die a dozen currently. And in Mumbai, starting today, Central Railway officials have introduced a ‘panic button’ system to alert officials in case of an emergency.
Designed by Carriage Workshop in Matunga, the feature is essentially a red push button, which will be found on the ladies compartment of suburban locals in the city. The system was unveiled yesterday, Sunday May 30, on four ladies coaches where it has been launched on a trial basis with the intent of helping women alert the guards or motorman of the train in the case of an emergency. Pressing of the button will give rise to an audio visual indication on flasher units provides outside the coach which will help to alert both commuters as well as railway staff on the platforms.
Former member of Divisional Railway User Consultative Committee, Rajiv Singhal told The Statesman that “This is good that Central Railway has gone one step ahead to instill a sense of security among women commuters. But most importantly, they must ensure that the service is properly maintained.”
Currently, women do have other means to seek help be it helpline numbers, SMS, or even chain-pulling which is available for both genders, however given incidents like the case of a 29-year-old woman who was forced to fight off a crazed drug addict even as people continued to pull the chain, continue to haunt the collective psyche of regular commuters.
As such, as long as the system connects to actual helplines and results in tangible security for women on local trains in the long run, this move is a welcome one by the Central Railway department.