2 Years On, Delhi Women Helpline Struggles to Handle Load of Distress Calls

 Share
EMAIL
PRINT
COMMENTS

Shiv Kumar Yadav, the Uber cab driver arrested for allegedly raping a woman passenger.


New Delhi:  The rape of a young woman executive allegedly by an Uber cab driver on December 5 has exposed the safety of women in the national capital yet again.

While the Delhi government in a knee-jerk reaction has banned Uber and other web-based cab services, it seems to have failed to keep the promise of making Delhi streets safer for women. NDTV did a reality check to find out the reasons behind the failure.

In the aftermath of the 2012 December 16 rape incident, massive public outrage had led to various measures being announced by the government, one of them being the 181 women helpline.

With much fanfare, the then-chief minister Sheila Dikshit had rolled out the helpline which was supposed to be a one-stop center for addressing distress calls by women and provide the necessary assistance.

Two years after the announcement of the helpline in 2012, NDTV revisited its office, only to find a small room, mostly empty.

We found 17 women, working in three shifts on only three functioning phone lines in a single room in the Delhi Secretariat.

The NDTV team asked Khadijah Faruqui, the consultant of the 181 helpline, if the infrastructure and manpower was insufficient for the job.

"Yes of course. 30 per cent of distress calls are dropped because we just have three phone lines. We need at least six. We do not advertise because that would lead to more calls. We can barely manage the current load of calls. More awareness would be impossible to handle," said Mr Faruqui.

In the 2 years since its roll out, the 181 helpline has received a total of 12 lakh calls out of which the office has managed to respond to about 8.5 lakh and around 4 lakh calls have gone unanswered.

The number of calls dropped keeps increasing with every passing minute as women in urgent need of help seek assistance from the 181 helpline.

Munira, a senior caller at the 181 office explained how the helpline has assisted many women but said so many more are left out.

"We have saved people caught up in trafficking, illegal confinement, domestic violence and rape attempts, but limited resources stop us from extending our service to all of them," she said.



Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.

NDTV Beeps - your daily newsletter

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................