Kochi: The State Water Transport Department (SWTD) has launched dedicated women's helpline numbers to ensure quick help to women commuters in distress.
"Women form majority of our passenger traffic. The need for a dedicated helpline number was felt for some time though we've provided quota for women travellers in boats," said SWTD Director Shaji V. Nair.
The helpline number for Ernakulam region will be 9400050346 while that for Alappuzha is 9400050322.
The commuters can avail help for medical and security-related issues. "Five water ambulances have been readied for quick deployment at various stations. Also we've tied up with cops for taking quick action on security-related complaints," the official said.
The initiative will prove a blessing to a large section of women hailing from interior islands in Ernakulam and Alappuzha regions who depend on boats for daily commutation. "For instance, hundreds of women from Varappuzha employed at textile shops or other business establishments in the city travel on boats, the cheapest option, on a daily basis. Even women form half the share of passenger traffic in fast ferry 'Vega 120'deployed in the Vaikom-Ernakulam section," he said.
Meanwhile, the authorities have allotted an additional three stoppages for 'Vega' to enhance its commuter patronage. "The stops are Manappuram in Thaikattussery grama panchayat near Poochakkal in the Vaikom-Ernakulam section and Wellingdon Island and Fort Kochi in the Ernakulam-Kamalakadavu section.
The SWTD also targets to deploy another fast ferry service in the Kottayam-Alappuzha section by April second week. "Currently boat construction is nearing completion at Aroor yard," the official said....