New Delhi :
Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi today expressed regret over the “slow expansion” of women cab service in the city, and exhorted his younger colleagues to take up the challenge of bringing greater number of woman drivers under the ambit of the empowerment scheme.
“It was an ambitious project and should have been taken up as a mission. But, unfortunately, we couldn’t (do) much as we got stuck in certain things...certain foolish things,” Bassi said.
Bassi was addressing reporters at the Delhi Police Annual Conference, his last as its chief. He, however, did not qualify as to what he meant by “certain foolish things”.
A woman cab service is run by and for women. These cabs are chauffeured only by women drivers, trained in self-defence and etiquettes.
“When this project began, there were hardly any takers, and it was very difficult to motivate women to take up the driving job... After we got our first lot, we trained them in self-defence and boosted their self-confidence and they ultimately felt the empowerment we were seeking in them.
“But, I hope my younger colleagues here would take this up and try to work on increasing the number of such women drivers,” he added.
Bringing much-needed relief to women in the national capital, ‘MeruEve’—a cab service by and for women—was launched in January last year by Meru company. These cabs are chauffeured only by women drivers.
“We have given you three-day training but we want you to continue practising it, which will make you stronger. Many men are fools (nalayak), they attack women because they are under the impression that they are weaker. Through self-defence training, we want to fill that gap in physical ability so that you can give somebody a befitting reply if he misbehaves with you,” Bassi had said while launching the facility.
The cabs have a ‘Himmat’ app of Delhi Police, 3G-enabled mobile phones with ‘video recording’ facility which also has a speed dial facility for all SHOs for distress call number, a panic buzzer (hooter), a pepper spray and women helpline displayed on it prominently.
Bassi said, “More such empowerment projects should be taken up and I hope more women would benefit from these services, both has a driver and as passengers. More companies can partner in such projects.”
Identified with its pink livery, a fleet of 25 ‘MeruEve cabs were launched in January and its number was set to rise to a few hundreds in the following months. However, it did not get the desired response as envisioned in the scheme.
"Thank God Delhi Police is under Centre," said Bassi hinting at the ongoing rift between Delhi government and Delhi Police.
Bassi urged young police officers to try and take the issue of women security forward. "It will be our pleasure to shoot or hang (the) accused in cases of crime against women if the Constitution of India permits us." It doesn't.
"There are some 150-200 males who see a woman only as if they are seeing them in a porn movie. That's why they see (even) a two-month-old baby or an 80-year-old woman as targets," the 59-year-old police chief expounded at a media briefing.
Well, this Police Chief never ducks a controversy.