Techies’ take on the new security initiatives at Technopark
There is a palpable sense of relief, jubilation even, across Technopark. For it’s not often that a long-standing demand of the techies has been met this quickly by the authorities. This week, finally, the city police put into operation three security initiatives – a 24x7 pre-paid auto counter, a police aid post and Nirbhaya, an extension of the city’s women-friendly auto service, for the benefit of Technopark employees, all of which, according to techies, particularly the women folk, have already made their lives better.
“The initiatives are a good move. They were a long-time coming; much-awaited and much appreciated,” says Sukanya Balan, a web developer with Vanilla Networks. “Earlier we were being fleeced silly by auto drivers, who used to charge anything between Rs. 40 to Rs. 60 for the two-km journey from Kazhakoottam to Technopark! And that too when the actual fare was Rs. 25. The night-time fare [post 7 p.m.] was even worse, particularly for those who work the late shifts. The biggest advantage of the new pre-paid auto counter is that we need pay only the actual fare and we get an official receipt to boot. Also, as a woman, it somehow makes me feel more secure when I see the Nirbhaya stickers [in Malayalam and English] on the autos that are part of the initiative,” she adds.
Neeraj Ganesh (name changed on request), a network engineer with an MNC, who uses autos to commute to his rented accommodation near Kulathoor and on Fridays from campus to Kazhakoottam railway station agrees: “One time I actually had to pay Rs. 50 to get dropped off at Bhavani building from Technopark gate, the distance of which is less than a kilometre! Often we had no choice but to pay up. That’s why I, like many of my fellow techies, welcome these initiatives. No arguments, they have already had a significant impact on the feeling of safety and security within campus. The presence of the policemen on duty at the aid post is indeed reassuring on the long walk down the main road after the late night shift. Then again, a couple of days after the aid post was inaugurated there appears to have been a skirmish between techies and locals in California [an alley near Nila building where they are many local eateries and popular with techies], the video of which has gone viral online.”
Adeeb Abdul Karim, who works at Mcfadyen Solutions, also welcomes the initiatives. “They are a first step towards a comprehensive public transportation service in campus,” he says.
After repeated campaigns and petitions to higher authorities, it was Prathidhwani, a socio-cultural organisation of techies on campus, that actually took the bull by the horns to pool in money and construct the pre-paid counter, which is situated a little to the left of the main gate, on the highway. The police aid post is adjacent to the campus security cabin at the entrance. “We wanted the pre-paid counter to be on the main road because it is a service for the people of Kazhakoottam too. A woman employee mans the counter during the day. On the first full day of operation (Tuesday), over 400 people used the service, with a service charge of Rs. 1 per trip,” says techie Bijumon Attipil, president of the organisation. “The only complaint thus far has been an issue with tariffs, which were a bit more than the ones authorised by the legal meteorology department. It has since been sorted out, particularly on important routes such as Kazhakoottam bus stop to campus,” claims Bijumon.
With the Government and Park authorities stepping up safety efforts with regards to installing security cameras, lighting of roads and alleys near campus, and now these three initiatives, techies say that their next aim is a toll free hotline for the police aid post.