Nearly 45 lakh people use the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses in the city. Shockingly, only 4.2 per cent of the total number of buses are under CCTV surveillance, thus, leaving almost no safety mechanism for women commuters. By November last year, the DTC had installed non Wi-Fi CCTV cameras on 200 buses. Although it was a pilot project then, the figure in the past six months has not seen any change. The corporation has a fleet of 4,705 buses, and is reeling under a cash crunch, it claims.
The three-month-old AAP government too has made no progress in respect of its key poll promises for ensuring women’s safety. However, an optimistic Transport Minister Gopal Rai said work would be visible soon after the budget was passed.
The project to install CCTV cameras, sources said, is likely to cost the government around Rs. 100 crore. In the buses currently under surveillance, three such cameras have been installed on each bus for full coverage of the seating area. “So far the cameras installed have been found to be functioning well. Once buses return to the depot, the footage is stored safely. As of now, 10 days’ footage is being stored in case a complaint is filed by a passenger,” said a Transport Department official.
The Aam Aadmi Party’s plan to deploy marshals on these buses will keep acts of sexual harassment at bay to some extent, if only it is implemented at the earliest. The plan is stuck due to “non-availability” of home guards, who are under the Delhi Government. Sources said the government has written to the Lieutenant-Governor putting forward the request to withdraw its personnel from the Delhi Police. However, the plan does not seem to be working and now the government is planning to deploy its civil defence force as marshals.