As concerns over safety of women in public spaces grow, in light of the gangrape on December 16, The L-G’s office has come up with short- and long-term measures to make Delhi safer, and more inclusive, for women.
The action plan is based on observations made through an audit of five areas of Delhi, are among the most vulnerable and unsafe parts of the city.
The audit was carried out by Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC), with help from the Delhi traffic police.
The study was presented to the L-G in a meeting on January 18.
About 225 stretches in the five areas of Outer Ring Road (Munirka-Mahipalpur), Dhaula Kuan cloverleaf, Dwarka sub-city, Nehru District Centre and Resettlement colony at Bhalswa was surveyed by the UTTIPEC in-house team.
According to the UTTIPEC draft report, sexual assaults happen along deserted, unwatched places like flyovers and signal-free corridors, subways and overbridges, deserted parks, parking lots and gated communities.
“The gated colonies force people to take detours and walk along unsafe roads and streets,’’ director (planning) UTTIPEC Ashok Bhattacharjee said.
The agency identified many dark patches on these stretches, and, as an immediate step, all the dark patches around bus stops considered to be vulnerable spots for women safety are to be provided with proper lighting immediately within 15 days by adopting rate-contract system for immediate execution and payment.
The action plan to ensure safety of women has been divided into three categories — physical intervention, institutional reform and capacity building, and advocacy and awareness building.
“The L-G’s office has said all agencies responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining roads and public spaces will be made co-accused, along with the enforcement agency concerned, in the case of any offence against women, children, disabled and senior citizens happen around these bus stops due to improper lighting,’’ a government official said.
Another issue raised in the meeting with the L-G was the lack of proper maintenance and operation of public toilets in the city. Suggestions of relocating open urinals of MCD near areas frequented by people was also made.
“It has been decided that operation and maintenance of all toilets should be handed over to the local community and women toilets should be maintained by women employees, especially in slum resettlement areas. Also, street vending should be made organised around vulnerable and secluded spots like Dhaula Kuan, Dwarka, NH-8, etc,’’ Bhattacharjee said.
Introducing night shelters or temporary housing for poor near unwatched areas like Nehru Place has also been recommended as part of short-term measures.
UTTIPEC is preparing ‘Women Safety Guidelines’, which will be part of the long-term measures and will be made mandatory for all planning bodies. The government agencies will have to follow the guidelines in their areas and micro-level projects — around vulnerable spots/bus stops with activities like hawking zones — will be prepared by UTTIPEC.
Lack of sufficient government bus services, amenities like public toilets and social anger due to social and physical marginalisation of poor is being looked at as other reasons leading to sexual assault.
Sexual harassment, the agency said, takes place due to over-crowding, improper illumination, improper bus-stop design, etc.
In terms of public transport, the suggestions made in the meeting talk of ladies special buses, and increasing availability of public transport, even if they have to run empty on some stretches.