VIJAYAWADA: It has been more than four years since the Centre and the State government initiated the Abhaya project intended for the safety of women travelling alone in autos and cabs. But it is yet to be implemented in the State. Blame it on official apathy or delay in submitting the feasibility report on the project implementation to the new government by a special committee, Abhaya is still in limbo.
Ironically, Andhra Pradesh is the first State in the country to get support for a women’s safety project under the Nirbhaya Fund set up by the Centre. The total cost of the project is estimated at `138 crore. Of the total cost, the Centre has provided `65 crore from the sanctioned amount of `80 crore. The remaining project cost has to be borne by the State government. Though the transport department finalised the tender for developing the necessary software and procuring hardware such as IoT devices with a panic button for installation in autos and cabs, the project has not gained momentum as the government reportedly opted for a feasibility study before its implementation.
Soon after PSR Anjaneyulu took charge as new Transport Commissioner succeeding N Balasubrahmanyam, he wrote a letter in July to Director General of Police D Gautam Sawang seeking his support for implementation of the project. The DGP immediately formed a special committee comprising Vijayawada City Commissioner of Police Ch Dwaraka Tirumala Rao, IPS officer G Palaraju, Additional Transport Commissioner Prasada Rao and two other officials to conduct a feasibility study.
The committee reportedly held meetings thrice in which the members differed on the project implementation citing technical issues such as interface with Dial 100 and ground-level problems. “In all the meetings, the committee members expressed different opinions on the project implementation. We are hopeful of arriving at a consensus on implementation of the project soon,” said a member on the condition of anonymity.
The Road Transport Authority (RTA) launched the project in Krishna district in March this year on a pilot basis. Around 100 autos were fitted with Abhaya devices. The then Deputy Transport Commissioner E Meera Prasad distributed the devices to auto owners free of cost. After getting satisfied with the results of the pilot project, the RTA called for tenders and a Hyderabad-based company reportedly got the bid.
A senior official in the transport department told TNIE that the entire project was entrusted to the police department for implementation. “If the police department submits a report on the feasibility study to the DGP, then we can see momentum in the implementation of Abhaya project,” he said.