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  Life   More Features  31 Aug 2019  Wheels of empowerment

Wheels of empowerment

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRIYANKA CHANDANI
Published : Aug 31, 2019, 6:15 am IST
Updated : Aug 31, 2019, 6:15 am IST

In an extraordinary initiative, MSTRC appoints 163 tribal women to drive the state-run transport buses.

The corporation is already ensuring smooth training with  proper infrastructure for these female recruits.
 The corporation is already ensuring smooth training with proper infrastructure for these female recruits.

In an extraordinary move, 163 tribal women have managed to secure their place as drivers for the state-run bus services. Although the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, MSTRC, already has 4,500 women conductors on job, the idea of filling the gap by training and employing women drivers was initiated by the former president of India Ms Pratibha Patil.

“This is a pilot project and all these women are now undergoing a classroom training followed by heavy vehicle training at a bus depot nearest to their house,” informs Ranjit Singh Deol, the Managing director of MSTRC, and adds that out of 900 applicants, 740 women cleared the written test organised by the corporation. “Finally 163 women made through the final documentation and medical clearance process,” adds the director.

 

The selected women hail from 21 different districts of Maharashtra including Bhandara-Gondiya, Vardha and Gadchiroli. In the total duration of one year’s training, the women will undergo quarterly tests, wherein they will be required to demonstrate their learning till they finally appear for their temporary heavy vehicle license. “Once they receive the temporary licence, they will have to undergo 44 days on road training, starting from smaller routes, graduating to longer ones and then they will be eligible for a permanent driver’s licence for the state transport services,” shares the director.

In order to ensure a fair platform for women, the eligibility criteria too has been relaxed as compared to men in the context of designated height and experience. Earlier only those who had cleared 10th examination and have the heavy vehicle license with three years of driving experience could apply for this job. But as of now, women with small vehicle license and with no prior experience can also apply. “Very few women would apply for the position earlier and there were a lot of reservations if women could drive big vehicles. We made small amendments in the eligibility criteria through a resolution. However, all the RTO rules are same for women and there is no change in them,” informs the transport minister Divakar Raote, and adds that “The initiative intends to empower women and we will ensure the safety and security of all the female drivers.”  

 

While the corporation is already ensuring smooth training with proper infrastructure for these female recruits, the managing director also informs that these women drivers will not be given night shifts. “They will have day shifts. The way our women conductors are scheduled shifts as per their convenience, these female employees too will get comfortable shifts,” assures the director. As of now, the corporation is receiving a great response from all the participants and their families. When asked if people will trust the women drivers’ driving skills, the director reveals how a lot of women call the corporation for car driving training. “All those women who couldn’t make it to the final recruitment are calling us to check if they can still get trained by the corporation so that they can work privately. Many families prefer to have a female driver for their private vehicles and these women want to do that job,” insists the director.

 

Thrilled with their successful appointment, it is like a dream come true for all these future women drivers. “I am happy to know that I will be driving very soon. I never thought about it. Women are working in every field and now they will prove their ability in this field as well,” says one of the candidates Vijaya Rajeshwari. To which another woman Rapanna Pathan adds, “I never thought of doing this in my life and this is so empowering.”

Tags: mstrc