Will HP Govt’s newly launched ‘women safety’ App actually help in emergency situations?
Himachal Watcher downloaded the App to test its efficiency. On pressing panic button, we received a call from Chamba patrolling room after 15 minutes.
Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Government on October 4, launched a women safety mobile app ‘Stree Sureksha’ in three districts of Kangra Division viz. Kangra, Chamba, and Una.
The App is available for download on Google Play Store. The government believes it would help the women in emergent situations.
Himachal Watcher downloaded the App to test its efficiency. Before we proceed to our experience, you must know how the App works.
The users will be required to select their location and mark their three preferred contacts to be informed in case of emergency. On pressing the ‘panic button’, an SMS is sent to all selected contacts and the police control room in the relevant location in Chamba, Una or Kangra.
The SMS will contain a custom message and coordinates (GPS) of the location of the user. The SMS will also include an URL to the GPS location on the map.
The App will produce an alarm sound and the video and audio recording will initiate automatically, informed the government. There is an option to cancel the alarm if the panic button is pressed by mistake.
Divisional Commissioner Kangra, Nandita Gupta, said App is developed specifically for the women and it would help them in distress or emergent situations. The App offers a ‘simple to use interface’, she added.
The women who do not have smartphones can use the 181 Helpline directly.
When HW pressed the panic button while sitting in Shimla’s Kasumpti area, SMS were delivered to the selected recipient instantly. We received a call from Chamba patrolling room after 15 minutes.
First of all, the App didn’t display the accurate location of the user. There was a difference of at least two kilometers between the exact location from where the button was pressed and the GSP location displayed by the app.
The audio and video recorded after the button was pressed were unavailable to the user.
The police called back after 15 minutes. What if the user is no more in possession of the phone by then? We asked the police how it would proceed if the mobile phone of the person in need of help is thrown away. We didn’t receive any comprehensive reply to our query.
Moreover, the App is useful in situations where there is enough time to unlock mobile, open the app, and then press the panic button.