Women auto drivers to get priority: Sheila

Monday

After Union Minister Jairam Ramesh wrote to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit expressing concern over Delhi's "most dubious" reputation regarding safety of women, the city government decided to impart free training to auto drivers and issue free driving licences to women auto drivers.

The measures were mentioned in Dikshit's response to Ramesh's letter.

"The Government of NCT of Delhi has decided to impart free auto-rickshaw driving training and issue free driving licences to women auto drivers. Such trained women drivers will be issued permits for auto-rickshaws on priority. In this regard, a public notice had already been issued in leading newspapers,'' Dikshit wrote.

The letter notes that the government is considering issuing bulk auto permits to companies or corporates who would want to set up their own call centre and provide autos on demand, on the lines of radio taxis. "About 5,000 auto permits would be kept for this purpose,'' the letter said.

Dikshit also listed the steps taken by her government to enhance the security of women. The new distress helpline number '181', operated by women employees, was mentioned in the letter.

"Necessary instructions have been issued to Delhi Police regarding the '181' helpline and for taking timely and suitable action on the calls/complaints forwarded to police by the women in distress cell," she said.

On Ramesh's suggestion for "women special buses and deployment of trained women drivers for these", the Chief Minister said DTC is operating 23 ladies special buses. The number of DTC buses plying during night has been increased to 89 on 22 routes (from 38 buses plying on 8 routes earlier) and Home Guards have been deployed in them, Dikshit wrote.

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