|Auto-rickshaws in Ranchi will soon have to install GPS trackers to ensure safety of women
It is never too late to show you care.
Two years after the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old paramedic student on a private bus in New Delhi and five months after the Union Cabinet cleared a Rs 1,400-crore-plus budget for safety of women, Jharkhand has woken up to the need to use GPS technology in public transport.
If acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty and transport commissioner Manoj Kumar have their way, wheels for mass transit in every city of the state will need to install global positioning systems within the next two months. For starters, a notification will be issued soon making the hi-tech trackers a precondition for road permits.
In January, the erstwhile UPA government had approved the GPS and video-recording proposal for 32 cities with population over a million keeping in mind the reports of the Justice J.S. Verma committee that examined the December 16, 2012, fatal Nirbhaya rape case and made recommendations relating to safety of women. The proposal included setting up of a unified tracking system at the national level as well as command centres in every state.
The idea is to link every passenger vehicle to local control rooms and a central server so that police can reach a crime spot using GPS technology. An emergency button is expected to lead the monitoring authorities to alert the nearest thana or patrol vehicle about the location. In buses where video cameras are installed, the centre can scan live pictures too.
Chakraborty, who is also the state transport secretary, went into a huddle with department officials on Sunday. He is learnt to have asked transport commissioner Kumar to chalk out the modalities at the earliest. The latter is now expected to strike co-ordination with his counterparts in Delhi to explore ways to equip all public vehicles with tracking systems.
According to department records, there were around 30 lakh registered vehicles in Jharkhand till last year. Roughly, 25 per cent of these are buses and auto-rickshaws. “We have been trying to launch an integrated tracking system for quite some time. After the Delhi gang rape, it has become mandatory for all states to ensure safety of women on public transport,” the acting chief secretary said.
He added that the transport commissioner would first come up with a formal notification asking owners of mass transit vehicles to install GPS trackers. “In the past, we had had meetings with bus and auto associations, and they promised compliance.”
On how they would proceed on the matter, transport commissioner Kumar said that the same was being worked out. “But to begin with, a notification will be issued making installation of GPS mandatory in every public transport seeking road permit.”
He added that they were getting necessary specifications from Delhi. “Our plan is to introduce GPS trackers for public transport, hopefully, in two months’ time.”
Do you think GPS technology can thwart rape attempts?