Govt for women-only buses in 63 cities

With the focus on measures to tackle crime against women in the wake of the Delhi gangrape incident, the Urban Development Ministry has asked 63 cities, with a population of more than one lakh, to run women-only buses on busy routes. If the state is unable to run buses then they should go for smaller modes of transport but the emphasis should be on frequency, said a senior ministry official.

The Urban Development Ministry is ready to provide financial assistance to the states to buy new low-floor buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) project. The project, which officially ended in March 2012, has been given an extension of two years.

"We would be issuing an advisory soon to all the 63 urban centres in the country to run women-only buses. If the authorities need monetary assistance, it will be extended to them from the JNNURM allocation," said a senior ministry official. This was one of the decisions taken on January 23 at an inter-ministerial meeting of secretary-level officers chaired by Cabinet Secretary Ajith Seth.

"If the state or the city administration is unable to make arrangements for the buses then smaller vehicles should ply to fill in the gap. It would be advised that the drivers and helpers in these vehicles have been verified," said the official. The officials also deliberated on the need for women-only counters at Metro stations.

"A programme was also proposed to encourage more women driven buses or taxis in the country," said the official.

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