Srinagar: Traffic Police Srinagar has failed to implement its own order about the reservation of eight seats for women and physically challenged persons in mini buses here.
The seats reserved for women and physically handicapped are occupied by male commuters.
The government under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, had in 2012 issued an order directing the mini-bus operators in the Valley to reserve eight seats for women and physically challenged passengers. However, the rule was never followed.
Women commuters accused the traffic authorities of not enforcing the government order. “I have never seen any traffic police personnel or official inspecting buses to check its implementation,” said Rukiya Amin, a private teacher.
She also complained of harassment in the overcrowded buses. “I am fed up of the regular harassment. It is common to get pushed and teased in buses,” she said.
Traffic officials, however, blamed lack of sufficient public transport in the city.
There are just 3,000 buses for 15 lakh people in Srinagar, which has added to the violation of the rule, said a Traffic department official.
Another daily commuter Shaista while sharing her travel experience said that she regularly faces inconvenience in the overloaded buses. “Male passengers don’t bother to offer seat to women as prescribed in the rule,”
Several women passengers said they were afraid of complaining as they feel there would be no instant action from the authorities. “I prefer to stand in the bus rather than ask a male passenger to leave the seat,” said Rafia syed, a student said.
The women passengers accused bus drivers and conductors of also not following the rule. “Before some days I asked a bus conductor about reserved seats for women. He told me don’t tell me these kinds of rules it is not applicable here,” she added
Traffic Department officials, however, believe that women can play an important role in making the rule a success.
An official in traffic Department, said women here are reluctant to speak about such events.
“Although we have provided toll free number, WhatsApp numbers and created a Facebook page too for complaint registration, But we have not received any complaints from women,” he said.
Tahir Gilani SSP of traffic department told Kashmir Reader that the department was imposing fines and impounding vehicles for the violation.
He added that traffic department will start drive against violators soon.