Control Room for VTS, Panic Button, still a distant dream

Control Room for VTS, Panic Button, still a distant dream

NASHIK: On the backdrop of Central government’s mandatory requirement of activation of Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) and Panic Button in all new vehicles plying as public transport to ensure passenger safety and women’s safe journey, it is understood that the state transport division has still not activated control room in the district for monitoring of the VTS and Panic Button systems.

The mentioned systems are currently in working condition, however, there is still no approval from state government for setting up of a control room, as political pandits blamed ‘political tug of war’ as one of the key reasons behind the delay.

Reports say that the locations to open control rooms have already been identified and inspected, however, proposal in this regard is still pending for further approval. The Nashik division has already sent a proposal to the state authority with an estimated cost of its construction.

As per the State Transport (MSRTC) division, the VTS and Panic Button systems have been installed in all 35100 buses including 9100 passenger ST buses and around 3000 public transport vehicles (except auto rickshaws and a few other vehicles).

After the tragic Nirbhaya incident, the central govt in 2015-16 had made it mandatory for public transport vehicles to activate VTS, CCTVs and GPS enabled Panic Button systems. The notification was issued in October 2018. However on state level it is still pending for approval.

In the state over 35000 vehicles have been installed with these systems. However the officials fear that with the activation of control rooms, new systems will require to be re-installed anew, thus will cost heavily to the MSRTC.

Vehicle Tracking System (VTS) will help authorities monitor incidences of overspeeding, sharp turning and reckless driving.
VTS will help in recording accident cases and avoiding traffic jams.
The system help improve the public transport system as a lot of data will be available for research.
Panic buttons will allow passengers to seek immediate help from authorities.

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