Smart Bhubaneswar: Safety, security for fairer sex

Bhubaneswar, December, 6, 2017: A workshop on Safety of Girls
and Women was organised today jointly by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation
(BMC) and Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) in collaboration with UNFPA as
part of Socially Smart Bhubaneswar initiative.
Representatives from BMC, BSCL, Bhubaneswar Development Authority
(BDA), UNFPA India, State Commission for Women, District Child Protection
Office, NGOs, Child Fund India, higher education institutes along with students
and Pragati Sathi peer leaders from various slums in the city participated in
the this day long workshop. The workshop is part of observation of ‘Fortnight
against gender based violence’, wherein the city has planned a series of
activities including poster designing competitions, street plays and
consultation programmes.
After the workshop the recommendations included safety and
security issues during transport by school vehicles, compulsory ID card for
parents, boundary walls with security guards, clean and separate toilets for
boys and girls, overloaded and overcrowded auto’s in which students come to
school, adequate orientation and screening of drivers, peons, attendants etc.
Similarly, for residential schools the suggestions included
sanitation and hygiene, counseling of wardens to be friendly and approachable,
medical vigilance, helpline number and orientation of students on child and
sexual abuse and their rights.
In case of public places, self defence training for girls,
separate and sufficient number of public toilets, adequate lighting, active
CCTV installation and proper and regular monitoring, privacy space like rest
room for lactating mothers, basic facilities like drinking water/ first aid/
dustbin and awareness and IEC posters to share information about various issues
and schemes featured in the suggestions. In case of workplaces proper
transportation facility and formation of sexual harassment committee featured
in the suggestions’ list.
Speaking on the occasion State Women Commission Member
Sasmita Nanda elaborated on the legal provisions available for women facing
gender based violence and stressed on the need for creating awareness among
vulnerable groups on what constitutes violence against women. She also stressed
on the need for efforts to change mindset of people towards safety of girls and
Elucidating the activities undertaken in different slums
under Bhubaneswar Town Centre District as part of Socially Smart Bhubaneswar
Initiative, Dr. Deepa Prasad, State Programme Coordinator, UNFPA stressed on
augmentation of such efforts in order to provide a safe and progressive space
to girls and women residing in the slums. In her address she highlighted the
efforts made towards improving safety of girls in the slums, connecting them to
skilling programs and how the 30 slum girls as ‘Pragati Sathi’ peer leaders
helped in bringing change in their respective communities.
Addressing the gathering, Vanishree Pattnaik, District Child
Protection Officer, Bhubaneswar threw light on increasing instances of children
getting involved in criminal activities and attributed dropping out from school
as one of the reason for the same. She reinforced her point with the fact that
612 children have been booked under Juvenile Justice Act since 2012.
Vishakha Bhanja, Regional Director, Water Aid in her address
highlighted various issues concerning safety and security of girls and women at
schools, higher education institutes, public places and work locations. Putting
forward her views, Nirmala A, National Head, Child Fund India suggested
increased involvement of children in curbing school drop outs and adopt the
concept of child advocacy agents to effectively bring change in the trend.
Deepanjali Sahoo, a pragati sathi peer leader from Press
Colony Jagannath Basti shared her experience at the workshop. While expressing
that safety of girls is a bigger issue in the slums as well as educational
institutions due to eve teasing instances, the intermediate student from
Maharishi College in the city said that she would now create awareness among
her friends on the issue.

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