‘Swathi’ app to protect passengers

Updated - July 13, 2016 06:00 am IST

Published - July 13, 2016 12:00 am IST - CHENNAI:

S. Swathi

S. Swathi

In what could be a fitting tribute to S. Swathi, the techie who was hacked to death in Nungambakkam railway station last month, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) will soon launch a mobile application in her name for the safety of women passengers. IT major Infosys, where Swathi worked last, has apparently agreed to develop the app that facilitates women to seek police assistance at the click of an ‘SOS’ button. The facility will also be extended to non-smart phone users via SMS.

According to police sources, Southern Railway’s Senior Divisional Security Commissioner K.K. Ashraf met representatives of the Infosys management here on Tuesday for finalising the salient features of the app. “Infosys has agreed in principle to develop the app. It is exclusively meant for women safety on railway premises. A special team of RPF personnel will be trained for effective monitoring and response. The app should be ready within two months,” a RPF official said.

Swathi was murdered in Nungambakkam railway station early on June 24 when she was waiting to board a train to her workplace. P. Ramkumar, suspected to be the lone assailant in the case, was arrested by the Chennai Police a week later. The gruesome murder sent shivers down the spines of commuters, particularly women, and drew sharp criticism from the opposition parties and civil society which raised apprehensions on the safety of women in the city.

Auto alert

The proposed app could be downloaded on smart phones. The prominent feature would be an ‘SOS’ icon that women passengers in distress could press for police assistance. An auto alert message would reach the Security Control Room, senior officials and mobile teams.

“RPF personnel will be deployed strategically to cover all suburban trains and stations. The auto alert and monitoring mechanism will be such that the first police team will reach the victim within a few minutes. We will be meeting Swathi’s family to take their consent for naming the app after her…”

The app is initially expected to cater to women passengers travelling in the Chennai suburban train network. The basic function of the system would be to alert the nearest RPF Inspector, mobile police teams and Security Control Room whenever a passenger presses the SOS button. Since coordinates of the victim would be known, a team would be able to reach her in minutes. The server would be with the RPF though the expertise of Infosys would continue as regards technical update and maintenance, railway sources said.

Though the Eastern Railway introduced the innovative Railway Mobile Instant Tracking Response and Assistance (R-MITRA) mobile app that was extended to South Central and Western Railways, it did not evoke the desired response from passengers.

Infosys to develop app for RPF which will also be extended to non-smart phone users

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