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Soon in Ahmedabad: Scan QR Code To Know Auto And Taxi Drivers’ Criminal Background

June 09, 2024 posted by Steve Brownstein

Amid concerns over thefts and security of passengers, Ahmedabad is all set to pilot an initiative soon where a quick scan of a QR code — pasted on auto rickshaws and taxis – will reveal if the drivers have any criminal background.
Thefts, and incidents of harassment of tourists and women have been reported, say officials, especially during late hours or in “poorly-lit areas”.
Ajay Choudhary, Additional Director General of Police, Ahmedabad City, elaborates, “When tourists come to the city and hail autos from the railway station, there have been complaints that the auto drivers have taken them elsewhere instead of the desired location and have stolen their bags or other belongings. Being new to the city, it gets difficult for them to retrieve their belongings.”
Ahmedabad Police’s initiative comes under the Safe City Project, utilising the Nirbhaya Fund under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is expected to be launched ahead of the Jagannath Rath Yatra on July 7. The Nirbhaya Fund was announced in 2013 by the government for the safety of women and girl children following massive outrage over the December 16, 2012 gangrape incident.
The Safe City Project, which focuses on safety of women and curbing all forms of crimes against women with better infrastructure and efficient access to law enforcement agencies, is being implemented in eight metro cities in the country. Ahmedabad is one of these cities apart from Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Lucknow.
In Ahmedabad, the project includes 18 components, says Choudhary, including setting up surveillance systems, social media analytics, integrated command and control centre, data centre, and facial recognition system. Choudhary is also the nodal officer of the Safe City Project.
‘QR Code based Tracking System’ is one of the components that will give citizens access through the application ‘One City’.
Under this initiative, a unique QR code sticker will be issued to each auto rickshaw or taxi, with the QR code displayed visibly in three places — outside and inside the vehicle and behind the driver’s seat for easy access. Any passenger scanning the code will get the details of the driver. Registration number of the vehicle, owner’s name and address, drivers’ details with his photograph, and driver’s criminal record history (reflecting open cases against the driver) – these will be the details that shall be made available, explained officials working on the project.
A camp was held three months ago to test the feature with select scores of autos, says Choudhary, and it has proven to be a success.
The ‘One City’ app is available on Play Store (Android) and App Store (iOS). The app intends to be a one-stop solution as it provides a direct line with the police, and eventually is planned to be a one-stop solution for all citizen-centric issues, including those linked to the local civic body.
Passengers can share their live locations while in transit with their family members or friends through the ‘Track Me’ feature. They can also call for help using the SOS button on the app. “In case of any emergency, a high-priority alert message will be sent to the emergency contact numbers or police officials. They can scan the QR code, request She Team services, register a complaint, and register up to three contacts using the city mobile application. The app requires details such as the auto driver’s PAN card and Aadhaar,” says an official.
The government has appointed Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to set up and implement the entire Safe City Project in the city after consultancy firm PWC mapped all the functional requirements to execute the same after consulting with the police.
Live-testing for all the components is ongoing and police officers are being trained. The training takes place every day from 12 pm to 3 pm, say the police, with two rounds of training completed and approximately more than 1,200 personnel have been trained so far in using the technology.
The Safe City project was initiated in 2019, but due to the pandemic, it experienced a delay, say police. The official work order was executed in May 2022, according to officials.
The integrated command and control centre situated in the new building of the Ahmedabad Police Commissionerate will serve as the console of the project. The police are aiming to launch the function before Rath Yatra this year.
“It is a continuously evolving process. Currently, the project is at the fag end.. the mass rollout camps (for autorickshaws) are ready, and we can expect it to be launched in the next 24-25 days, before Rathyatra” says Choudhary.
The city police also plan on using the eight components of the project during the Rath Yatra. The project’s goal is to prevent crime by providing real-time information to police officers and enabling them to take timely action.
Written by Yashvu Sureka

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