“The panic button mechanism is a good idea. However, there needs to be proper monitoring to ensure commuters do not misuse it. It had caused the trains to stop on the Central line. I hope the authorities keep this in mind before it is kept open for public use.”
Mumbai : Even while the Central railway’s attempt to install emergency panic buttons proved to be unsuccessful and was finally withdrawn, the Western Railway (WR) has come up with a similar proposal to install an emergency panic button in the women compartments in local trains.
In June 2016, the panic buttons were installed in women compartments on the Central Railway. However, it was not a successful attempt as they were allegedly misused and resulted in stopping of trains.
A woman commuter travelling daily from Dadar to Churchgate sounded sceptic. “The panic button mechanism is a good idea. However, there needs to be proper monitoring to ensure commuters do not misuse it. It had caused the trains to stop on the Central line. I hope the authorities keep this in mind before it is kept open for public use,” said Radhika Patwardhan, a daily commuter.
The system is set to provide a facility of press-to-talk for women in distress. The railway officials said that the installation process for the panic button and its trials to ensure its smooth functioning would be completed in nearly four months prior to making it useful for public.
Few commuters also felt that a talk back system like the one in metro would be beneficial rather than the emergency panic button.
“The talk back system will give a sense of reassurance to the women in distress that someone is answering to her distress calls,” said Kavita Ganapathy, a commuter at Churchgate railway station.
According to the Railway Protection Force unit (RPF) on the WR, the emergency panic button would help the women in distress to get in touch with the motorman and railway guard to communicate with them the precise type of emergency required.
The officials have also planned to install at least 51 Close-Circuit Television Cameras (CCTVs) in women compartments on the Western line as one more step to provide safety on the local trains.
“Fixing of the security systems is in process and the system will also be connected to the railway security helpline number182 in order to streamline the process of attending to distress calls. We will also put up boards inside the compartment listing the guidelines for the women commuters to use the panic button effectively,” said Anup Shukla, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF (WR).
The footage from the CCTV cameras installed in compartments can be retrieved and scanned in case of incidents like molestation or attacks taking place. “The real time monitoring of CCTV cameras installed in the compartments reserved for women cannot be done
due to privacy issues,” said Shukla.