Amidst increasing passenger footfall ahead of the festive season, Indian Railways takes stringent measures to check issues about crowd management and women’s safety. Meri Saheli initiative is one such step towards strengthening women’s safety during train journeys.
According to a survey conducted by the Ola Mobility Institute across 11 Indian cities in 2019, only 9% of women find public transport to be safe, whereas 3% of them claim it to be “completely unsafe.” In circumstances like this, the Meri Saheli initiative comes as a brilliant proposal to reaffirm popular faith in India’s public transport system.
This is an effort to provide women passengers an environment in which they feel safe, secure, and comfortable during their journey. Operation Meri Saheli (translation: my friend) gives security to women passengers from the originating point to the destination. – said D B Kasar, IG-cum-Principal Chief Security Commissioner of South Eastern Railway
As part of the Meri Saheli initiative, RPF personnel shall be deployed at station platforms to keep a watch on the berths and coaches of trains. They shall approach unaccompanied female passengers at their originating stations and brief them about necessary safety precautions. They will make passengers aware of the stoppages on their way to keep them well-informed about their journey.
The team shall then collect their seat numbers and contact information to stay in touch with them throughout the journey. Lastly, RPF teams shall collect relevant feedback from the identified women at their destination and improve the Meri Saheli initiative. Women can now dial 182 in case of an emergency encountered en route to their destination.
Suppose a distress call is placed from a train coach. In that case, RPF personnel will corroborate immediate action to rescue the victim through the Meri Saheli initiative. Remedial measures following the call will be strictly monitored by senior officers to ensure a concerted effort.
The Meri Saheli initiative began as a pilot project in the South Eastern Railway in September 2020. After receiving good feedback, it was extended to further zones with effect from October 17, 2020. As of now, it has been in force in three trains, namely Howrah-Yesvantpur Duronto Special, Howrah-Ahmedabad Special, and Howrah-Mumbai Special.
Indian Railways is taking charge of the current situation and enforcing efficient action to protect women through schemes like the Meri Saheli initiative. By allowing women to fall back on an additional security system, it awards a renewed courage to female passengers who rely on the public transport system to travel on a daily basis.