University's move to ensure safety of women not enough

Sep 30, 2013, 00:11 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

Female students say while the step to have a four-wheeler -- with a driver and a female security guard -- for them to travel in the campus at night free of charge is commendable, the number of vehicles and punctuality need a relook

As an upshot of the December 16 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi last year, University of Pune (UoP) started a special transport facility between 6 pm and 11 pm in January. A four-wheeler with a driver and a female security guard remains available at the varsity’s main gate and girls can hire it free of charge to reach a hostel or any department on the campus that bears a fairly deserted look at night. A creditable initiative no doubt, but the beneficiaries say there’s scope for improvement, as currently only a single vehicle is available for the service.

Open-door policy: The service allows women to travel safely on the campus that bears a deserted look at night. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

While praising the programme, Smita Sable, a second year MSc-Microbiology student, said, “Girls feel really insecure roaming on campus after 7 pm when almost all the departments are closed. At these times this transport facility really helps, as after a single phone call the vehicle comes over.”

However, she expects the number of conveyances to be increased, bearing in mind the number of users. “Though the service is available between 6 pm and 11 pm, many a times the driver arrives late and we have to wait at the main gate or inside the department for the carriage. If the varsity adds even one more vehicle, it would be convenient for all of us,” she added.

Good initiative: The service was started after the Delhi gang rape

“On an average about 100 girls benefit from the transport facility daily. We entertain each and every call and make sure no girl is left behind,” said a female guard at the women’s hostel of UoP, who travels in the motor to ensure the commuters’ safety.

“When the initiative had kicked off, the service was good. Butafterwards the zeal was lost. I think the varsity administration should once again focus on this to ensure effective delivery,” said Duhita Sant, who recently passed out of the university.

Speaking to MiD DAY, UoP registrar Dr Narendra Kadu said, “We have been constantly running this transport service for women since January. If anyone has any suggestions, he or she can share it with our security department, or my office.”

Shivaji Chikate, driver of the cab, said, “According to our records, on weekdays 150 students – on an average – use this service. On Sunday the figure goes up to 200. I don’t think there is any need to increase the number of vehicles at this point.” 

No of female students residing in the varsity’s hostels

Approx no of women pursuing postgraduate courses with 50 departments of UoP

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