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Safer buses for women in Delhi, India

Many women who travel in the capital’s crowded buses and have been molested by male co-passengers can heave a sigh of relief. On Monday, special ‘women only’ buses will begin plying on select routes, thanks to a Delhi High Court order.

[ReviewAZON display=”searchquery” query=”delhi” count=”3″ category=”All” page=”1″ sort=”default”]The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is starting the service.

Taking cognizance of a public interest petition that drew attention to a large number of women complaining of molestation in public buses, the high court had asked the DTC to make special arrangements for women travellers across the city.

The Delhi government informed the division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw last week that the DTC was ready to start special buses for women in the capital and would begin with six routes initially.

“We have zeroed in on six routes initially and fixed the timings for these buses. For the first few days, we will run them only during office hours so that a response from women passengers can be sought for planning ahead,” the government counsel submitted.

The court had then asked the government counsel to give a detailed affidavit explaining their plan by Wednesday.

“DTC buses have become a nightmare for women. Molestations have become a norm. Women are scared of travelling on these buses, especially at night,” lawyer Ravi Chandra Prakash, who filed the petition in the court, told IANS.

The court however did not agree to the suggestion by the petitioner’s counsel that Delhi should follow the Bangalore model wherein space is segregated for women in buses.

The court said, “This is not feasible as, for this, the design of the buses would have to be changed.”

The routes where the women’s only buses will ply are: No.212 from Nandnagari to Anand Parbat; No.937 from Sultanpuri to Old Delhi Railway Station; No.205 from New Seemapuri to Fatehpuri; No.307 from Trilokpuri to Kamla Market; No.211 from Mayur Vihar Phase III to Mori Gate; No.721 from Manglapuri to Kashmere Gate.

Prakash had said he was inspired by his personal experience to file the petition.

“During the last strike by autorickshaw drivers, I frequently travelled on public as well as private buses. I was shocked to see the state of affairs. It seems every girl who takes these buses is molested. Something must be done to stop this horror,” Prakash had stated in his petition.

Earlier the DTC had started women’s special buses, but these were discontinued on the grounds that not many women passengers boarded them.

By Kanu Sarda

–Indo-Asian News Service

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