Delhi on a ‘fine’ way to shed its ‘unsafe’ image?

Overhanging High Tension

Here are some of the most popular perceptions of India’s national capital – a foodie city, a Mecca for history and architecture, a runway for all things fashionable, for all practical purposes – the gateway city to the Taj Mahal; and sadly, one of the most unsafe cities in India. Now four out of five isn’t bad, but if 2011 is any indication of what is to come, the city of New Delhi is well on its way to becoming one of the safest destinations in the country. Here are two examples.

The Delhi Police, over the last 8 months, has been organising a number of camps, workshops and town-halls, with the intent to increase awareness, educate women and senior citizens and imbue a general sense of safety.

The ‘Police Station Visit Week’, involving over 300 police stations, held during the first week of November 2011, was a big hit with local residents – helping boost moral and confidence within the law. The recent bid to raise traffic fines, nearly 20 times its original, was welcomed by citizens from across the city, who supported the Delhi Police’s viewpoint that a larger fine would be a bigger deterrent to commit even the most minor traffic violations. But none has been more satisfying than the crackdown on drunken driving over the last few months, with over 14,762 cases reported and over 2,100 licenses being suspended.

Safety has even crept into different aspects of Delhi’s day to day development. In fact, with the trickiest phase of construction just about to begin, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has made training of contractors, workers and site engineers involved in the construction sites, mandatory. The Metro’s phase III, is likely to be the most complex project with construction running across heavy traffic zones like the Ring Road and Outer Ring Road. Any mishaps in these places would not only put workers in harms way, but the passing traffic as well. So serious is the DMRC about its safety (that is, after two major mishaps and the loss of 60 lives during the construction of phase II) that they have tied up with the likes of IIM-Ahmedabad, to provide this training.

From coming down hard on touts at the airport and train stations, to making domestic-help registration compulsory, the Capital is definitely going all out to expel its ‘unsafe’ tag. If 2010 was the year of the city makeover, 2011 will definitely be the year of the Capital shakedown.

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