|Trained women auto drivers practise at Harmu grounds in Ranchi earlier this week. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Women of Ranchi will soon enter a male bastion with as many as 10 of them gearing up to ply three-wheelers in the state capital.
They are the first batch of women drivers, who are being trained for the past six months by realty firm Rajmani Property Pvt Limited and Jharkhand Pradesh Diesel Auto Chalak Sangh.
These days, Manu Devi, Neetu Oraon, Sunita Devi, Reena Tigga, Heera Devi, Pinki Tirkey, Pratima Devi, Viras Devi, Usha Oraon and Bachni Devi are practising driving on the sprawling Harmu grounds from 11am to 2pm.
They will start ferrying passengers within city limits from December 15. However, they have not been designated routes yet.
“The first batch of women auto-rickshaw drivers are ready. They are busy practising. We intend to impart driving lessons to altogether 25-odd women. Training for the next batch started on November 13 and is going on in full swing. All trained women drivers will be provided with photo identity cards till they get their licence,” said president of Jharkhand Pradesh Diesel Auto Chalak Sangh Dinesh Soni.
On why they took such an initiative, Soni said, “We have seen college students and women passengers face problems while travelling in auto-rickshaws. With women at the wheel, these passengers will feel safe and will not be harassed.”
Sanjay Sahu, an official of Rajmani Property Pvt Limited, said they are chipping in by providing all required support. “Not only free training, we have also opened savings accounts for them as they are expected to earn around Rs 500 daily,” he said.
With this initiative, Ranchi will also take a leaf out of Jaipur’s book. For, the women auto drivers will ply pink three-wheelers clad in salwar suits matching the colour code.
Sahu went on to add that they had already ordered 10 pink autos from Pune-based TVS Motor Company. These would reach Ranchi before December 15. Moreover, they will also provide loans between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh to help them buy a vehicle.
The women who have undergone training are all from low-income groups and most of them work either as domestic helps or as daily wage labourers.
“I have four children and its very difficult to send them to school, as my husband who is a driver earns only Rs 1,000 a month and I work as a domestic maid for a paltry sum of Rs 500. When the association approached me, I jumped at the opportunity,” said 35-year-old Viras Devi of Nayatoli in Dibidih.
For Ashok Nagar resident Reena Tigga, this was a chance to augment her family income so that she could send her two children to school, “Humlog purush se kam nahi hain. Humlog ke liye ye ek naya awasar hain. Ab training khatam ho gaya hain aur humlog tayar hain (We are no less than men. For us, it is like an opportunity. We are done with the training and are ready to drive),” said the 28-year-old confident auto driver.
Rajmani Property Pvt. Ltd in collaboration
with Jharkhand Pradesh Diesel Auto Chalak Sangh
25 women to be trained
10 women ready
to ferry passengers
OTHERS: Training on