BANGALORE: Reservation for women, be it in the Parliament or to the question of seats exclusively reserved in a public transport, has always aroused passions in the hearts of men. Their argument: Women cannot claim this facility as they are considered as equals. The common saying one gets to hear on the buses is, “Where is gender equality and why do women claim reservation in today’s world ?”
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has many issues that needs to be tackled — like the exclusive seats reserved for women that are usually occupied by men and of course safety. Lakhs of people commute in thousands of buses on a daily basis. These buses are considered to be a safe mode of transportation by many, especially women and children. But, what are the safety measures that BMTC authorities have taken with respect to women travelling at all times in buses?
It is a known fact that 16 seats in the front portion of all ordinary buses are reserved for women, two seats for physically challenged and two seats for senior citizens. One can notice that each of these seats are clearly labelled as reserved, ‘For ladies only’. Despite these measures, commuters witness that at the peak hours or during late night hours, these reserved seats are mostly occupied by men of all age groups.
Many women in the city have raised their voice every now and then against the ‘continuing attitude of men’ that they have to face everyday. “There are many instances where men have refused to vacate these seats and continue to sit comfortably in the seats and sometimes even abuse women for demanding this facility while the conductor remains a helpless spectator. Sometimes they pretend to be sleeping or act as though they fail to understand what we try to communicate. In such a situation, I have always made it a point to bring it to the notice of the conductor. Many a time, they failed to carry their responsibilities,” said Jayamma T K, a regular commuter.
When asked, the Chief Security and Vigilance Officer of BMTC, Ramachandraiah B M, said that the responsibility lies with the conductor to see to it that seats reserved for women and senior citizens are not occupied by men. “If the conductor fails to take up the responsibility then, women can file a complaint at the control room against those who have occupied the seats. The instructions are given to control rooms to connect the victim to Road Patrol Sarathi squads, who address the issue immediately.”
He later contradicted his statement and said that it is Herculean job to take up strict action against the violators as the victim may not be able to provide enough information about the identity of the person. “If the issue is considered serious, then the violator is taken to the nearest police station, where he has to pay penalty.” For any help, women can call on the toll-free number 7760991399 to lodge complaints.