Last year on International Women’s Day, the government’s transport department increased the number of seats reserved for women in local buses from 4 to 8. However, not much has changed. “Women still have to stand, be pushed around and get groped while men sit back and relax”, says Community Correspondent Sulochana Pednekar in this report on the many hassles women commuters face while using Goa’s public buses. Furthermore, there is no helpline for women to report these issues.
CALL FOR ACTION: You can call Mr Arun Desai, Director of Transport in the Transport Directorate of Goa at 0832-2225724 and demand that grievance redressal system be effectuated immediately.
For many daily commuters, like Sulochana, herself a veteran bus user and women’s rights advocate, this is a cause for much chagrin. She told us, “The government promised something but did nothing to support the initiative. The helpline number in the bus doesn’t work. When you call it, they tell you to dial another number. Do they really expect someone squashed in a bus, being pushed around to make call after call? How silly!”
Though the talk of reservation remains a contentious debate, the bills that have been passed — like the reserved seats for daily commuters — must be implemented. CC Sulochana adds further, “We didn’t ask for the reservation, the government gave it to us. So why are they not implementing it properly?”