Govt. to track public transport for safety

All modes of public transport including BPO cabs, school buses and vans, Gramin Seva vehicles, besides buses, taxis and auto rickshaws will be tracked and monitored by government agencies for safety of passengers, particularly women, across 32 ‘million-plus’ cities.  The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the ministries concerned to ensure that the deadlines are met since the government has assured Parliament and has also allocated a budget under the ‘Nirbhaya fund’.

Apparently, the PMO held a review meeting last week on the interventions to make cities safer for women and it has asked the home and the IT ministries to speed up their plans. It has also asked the road transport ministry to roll out the system for tracking of different modes of public transport in a time-bound manner. It is learnt that the implementation will start by the year-end and will be completed in two years with an investment of about Rs 1,400 crore.

At least 30 lakh vehicles will be covered under the tracking system which will be fitted with on-board vehicle security and tracking devices such as GPS, emergency button and CCTVs (only for buses).  Private operators have to install the devices at their own cost and would have to ensure these are “all time operational” and should have wireless data connectivity. When the system is down, these would have to be taken off the road.

The cities to be covered under this scheme include Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Kochi, Patna, Dhanbad, Raipur and Vijayawada. Each of the 32 cities will have city command and control centres, which will be managed by the transport departments and the police. The centres will have helpdesks for emergency purpose, video walls to track vehicles and will have multi-channel communication for receiving and passing information. While state transport departments will take care of enforcement of law, registration, taxation and issues relating to driving licences, police will enforce law and will also respond to panic alerts.

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