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How safe will our metro be?

So, after much anticipation, false starts and the hype, Mumbaikars can now exclaim, ‘We, too!” to their counterparts in Kolkata and Delhi.

The Mumbai Metro, we hope, will provide much needed relief to our battle-scarred commuters who desperately need viable, comfortable alternatives to put their daily woes to rest, at least to some extent.

So while we wait to pass judgment on its convenience, efficiency and punctuality, there is one factor that the authorities must implement from day one — the issue of safety. For too long, our city’s gutsy women commuters have had to pay the price for lax security on our trains, in our buses and autos.

Now, with a new transport service introduced, and with so much at stake, the expectations will be sky-high. As a commuter who has been at the receiving end of this lack of safety, one hopes an effective system will be put into action, immediately.

For one, since it’s an elevated corridor, the number of people at stations might be lesser in comparison, and hence chances of isolated spots are high. The authorities cannot miss this possible problem area and must pull every stop to ensure that women feel safe at all times.

Secondly, since it’s a closed-door service, chances of escape are impossible, until the next station arrives; this makes it even more crucial that safety and security is provided inside the metro, irrespective of the hour of day.

Of late the brazen attitude with which assaulters, molesters and thieves on our transport services have been allowed to operate and get away hasn’t been reassuring by any stretch of imagination.

The Mumbai Metro cannot disappoint us. Of course, the installation of CCTV cameras and automated gates to ensure only ticket-holders are at stations might keep tabs on trouble makers, but to what end and extent?

Swift action must also be meted so such acts aren’t repeated, thus serving as a deterrent to others. After, all isn’t it high time that the city, which pays the highest tax in the country, reaps the benefits of a safe and hassle-free transport service. We’ll be watching.

The write is Features Editor of mid-day

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