A protest rally to demand better security for women on Thursday
In the weeks following the Delhi rape incident, protests across the country, including in the city made both government and corporates take a hasty relook at the existing measures for ensuring safety of the woman on the street. However, the city’s own IT employees aren’t too excited about an all-women arrangement such as women cab drivers to drop and pick up women employees .
Tech major Infosys, which is set to have its biggest campus in India at Kharadi, wasn’t upbeat about the all-women set-up. Chetan Himani, an Infosys employee who is treasurer of the Hinjewadi Industries Association (HIA) and is also heading the IT park area’s transport and traffic committee, said, “At Infosys, 42 per cent employees are male, and 58 per cent are female.
Many prefer to travel together in the company buses, while many others are couples who either work in the same company, or in different IT companies. Why would they choose to travel individually? IT employees pay for transport expenses from their salaries. Their choice is all-important here.
I don’t feel they will agree with the allwomen arrangement even partially.” He added, “We would wish to tie up with a transport company that will take care of all aspects of the business.”
I don’t feel there is need of such a service right now as it will send a wrong message, as if there’s something wrong, which is why an allwomen cab service is being opted for.” Sunil Pailwan, administrator with HIA, agreed, saying he had doubts whether a women-driven cab service would be able to deliver across all parameters.
He stressed on the need for GPRS-aided location and on-spot resolution of problems related to transport. “What if the cab gets a puncture on the way? Though women-driven cabs would definitely help in increasing the security atmosphere, it is still a business first. The IT sector is not government-run and cabs aren’t a public service for women employees.
When such a proposal comes, we will examine all these positives and negatives,” he added. Himani’s take was echoed by several city IT professionals. Sheetal Pathak, administrator with an IT company, believes the city is not yet in the need of stricter security measures for women. “Yes, I will definitely feel safer with a woman driver, but I don’t see the dire need for the same.
Pune is still a safer bet compared to other cities. The best way to be safe is timely updates to parents and family about your cab location and route.” Software tester Maitraeyee Shirolkar agrees on Pune’s safety quotient. “I leave at late hours from office and not once have I been scared or terrified.
I drive my own car. I find the woman driver idea interesting, but in a place like Pune I don’t really see the need for it. We have women security guards who escort us. It is just that recent events in other parts of the country have made people paranoid.” Anagha Konnur, senior associate project, expressed surprise at the thought of women cab drivers for IT companies.
|A Nari cab that was launched on Thursday
“Fortunately, Pune is a safe city. I don’t understand the need for women drivers. Who will be responsible for their (drivers’) safety during late hours? How are we going to ensure that the woman driver is safe after dropping all employees safely? The question is not about a male or female driver, but about being alert and vigilant all the time.”
Vishakha Gaikwad, who launched the women-driven cab service Let Them Drive in 2008, after several cases of rape and murder of IT employees by cab drivers, feels the city is safe. “I have travelled across the country and Pune is definitely safer.
My concern is that women in the city need to be alert to avoid any incidents. The sex of the driver will not matter if we women taking cabs give timely updates to our families about the route and their co-passengers,” Gaikwad said. Rhea Samtani, executive at Cybage, “When we are talking about women cab drivers, what is being done to ensure the driver’s safety?
Also, if it is an all-women cab, what do they do in times of emergency? I believe this initiative needs to be worked upon, taking several factors into consideration. Pune is a safe city, so I don’t really see the need for this, as of now.” On Thursday, there was a new entrant in women-driven cab services when Nari Cabs was launched by K K Travels.
Interestingly, K K Travels director Kedar Kasar said the decision to launch this service was taken after consulting with the HR departments of several IT majors including Cognizant, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
“There is a serious issue of women’s security in the city. Some 50 cabs will be soon ready to operate, exclusively for women.
So far 10 women drivers are ready to drive, while 40 more are getting trained. We discussed the security issue with HR departments of IT companies, and there were no negative responses to having a taxi service for women.
The companies responded to us after feedback from their employees indicated the service should be started at the earliest,” said Kasar. He added, “We have also trained our drivers to face emergencies.
Two of our women drivers have over four years pf experience serving on school buses. They are training other women drivers to deal with unwarranted incidents like breakdowns, road rage, accidents.
►►► The sex of the driver will not matter if women taking cabs give timely updates to their families about the route and their co-passengers
- Vishakha Gaikwad, Proprietor, Let Them Drive taxi service for women
Crimes against women in city
Nov 1, 2007: Jyotikumari Chaudhary (22), who worked with Wipro BPO was raped and murdered by her office cab driver and his friend
Aug 8, 2008: A 22-year-old woman, working as a customer care executive at the IBM call centre at Phursungi, was allegedly gangraped by eight to 10 people, suspected to be cab drivers
Oct8, 2009: Nayana Pujari, an employee of software firm Synechron at Kharadi, was found raped and murdered at Rajgurunagar in Khed. Two of the four accused were cab drivers
Apr 3, 2010: A 25-year-old woman who had come from the US in search of a job in Pune was gangraped by three men in Hinjewadi in a taxi who offered a ride on a share basis