Employees pool in money, develop software for counter

They knocked doors. Some opened a little and shut forever while others remained closed. Then they decided to take things into their own hands. A pre-paid autorickshaw counter and police aid-post in front of the Technopark — one of the long-standing demands of the employees here — will become a reality on Monday, thanks to the efforts of a bunch of software engineers who pooled in funds and took time out from their busy schedule to make things happen. Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala will inaugurate the counter at 5 p.m.

The demand for a prepaid auto counter became strong following the protests against the Delhi rape incident in 2012. The protests led by Prathidhwani, a socio-cultural collective of the employees here, led to serious discussions about the problems faced by those working here. A few incidents of attacks on women outside the campus further fuelled this demand.

A signature campaign was launched and the group met the Corporation Mayor, MP, MLA, and police officials in 2013 with their demands. Though the responses were positive, things did not move ahead much.

“Last month, we decided to pool in money among ourselves to make this a reality. One day of collection was held, and close to 170 people contributed. An amount of more than Rs.1 lakh was raised in just a day. The response from the side of the police has also been very positive ever since Mr. Chennithala visited Technopark to discuss the issue,” says Rajeev Krishnan, one of founders of Prathidhwani. Already, 42 autorickshaws have been registered with the counter, which is located near the entrance to the park. Auto charges from Technopark to locations across the city will be displayed at the counter. The Prathidhwani team also developed a software to run the counter.

“The existing system in prepaid counter does not have any data storage facility. It can just print slips and no information can be gathered later. But this software, which is designed be used with both prepaid auto rickshaws and taxis, can be used to generate detailed reports based on driver, destination, and time period. We will hand over the software to the Police Department so that it can be used elsewhere too,” says Mr. Rajeev.