The Telegraph
Saturday , April 26 , 2014
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Enter, fire-fighter Rinku

- Institute offers diplomas to women for first time in NE

Jorhat, April 25: With the opening of the first fireman training institute in the Northeast here, two girls — Rinku Kayam and Alaka Sonowal — are getting ready to storm the all-male bastion in the state.

Alaka, who has taken admission in the Fire Technology and Industrial Safety Management Institute here, said she would like to be a fire-fighter. She hails from Namrup in Dibrugarh district and said she was keen to get a job in the fire department or any other company like ONGC and OIL, which have their own firefighting units.

Rinku, from Dikhowmukh in Sivasagar district, is confident she will be able to match steps with her male counterparts. “I saw the advertisement in a newspaper and decided to give it a try. I have heard that in other places in the country there are women fire-fighters, so why not here?” she asked.

Both Alaka and Rinku are sportspersons and have passed a fitness test before being admitted into the one-year fireman technology diploma course. After graduating, they will be eligible to be recruited as team leaders of a group of fire-fighters.

The other course is a six-month diploma, the admission eligibility criteria being matriculation pass, while for the former one has to pass the higher secondary examination. For both the courses, the required height for men is five feet four inches and for women it is five feet two inches.

Established by Ideal Abhijan, a non-governmental organisation, the Trade and Technology Institute at Garmur here is affiliated to the government’s directorate of employment and craftsman training. Apurba Borah, the president of Ideal Abhijan, said the courses would include rigorous physical training, for which a gym has also been set up, along with theory. A fire tender would also be provided for 15 days by the district fire department for practice. Oil India Limited, Duliajan, has promised a 45-day field experience at its unit, where the students would be sent towards the end of their course.

“The need for a course certificate in fire-fighting was felt when OIL, Duliajan recruited 33 firemen at its unit last year. There were hardly seven to eight applicants from the Northeast who had done courses in fire-fighting and those who had applied had studied outside. The majority of appointments were given to those who came from outside the state,” Borah said. “Had there been an institute here, we could have recruited manpower from the Northeast. Now we look forward to not only our men but also our women being recruited,” he said.

Borah further said as there were no courses being offered by Dibrugarh or Gauhati universities, course material had to be sourced from Delhi University.

Monalisa Goswami, the director of the employment and craftsman training directorate, helped in this matter. Those who are appointed as firemen in the state fire department have to later undergo fire-fighting training at Sila near Guwahati before being sent to the field. There is another Trade and Technology Institute at Duliajan in Dibrugarh district, run by Ideal Abhijan, which offers diploma courses for electricians, mechanics for diesel engines and wiremen.