Traveling in public transport vehicles will no longer be a nightmare for women in Kerala, as these will soon be embedded with ‘panic buttons’. The motor vehicles department is gearing up to make select public vehicles plying on the state roads GPS-enabled and also install ‘mandatory’ panic buttons in them within the next two months. With its launch, passengers can press the emergency button in vehicles, pass their messages to a control room and seek the help of law-enforcers if they face any harassment or other such distressing experience, department sources said. As part of the initiative, both public and private buses, vans and buses of educational institutions would be made GPS- enabled and would have emergency buttons, in the first phase.
Auto rickshaws and taxis would be brought under the programme in future, the sources said. The ambitious initiative is part of a directive by the Centre in this regard, they said. Joint Transport Commissioner, Rajeev Puthalath said the state government had already issued a notification in this regard and and the necessary procedures were almost complete. “We expect that we can implement the programme within the next two months…The new systems will be made mandatory not only for the existing vehicles but also for the new ones to operate on the state roads,” he told PTI. The work of a ‘master control-room’ to implement the programme is already completed, he said. “The master control room will function at the Transport Commissionerate here. The mini control rooms will function at regional transport offices,” the official added. The state-run Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) is the implementing agency of the programme.