Life in a Metro: Stories of 6 Women Employees of Jaipur Metro!
- IWB Post
- June 4, 2015
Brash, bright and colorful metro train has started functioning in Jaipur, making us go cheek-to-cheek with strangers in a metal tube that feels worth it. Large numbers of locals were seen queuing up at the ticket counters to enjoy their first ride in the Jaipur metro.
With the public launch of the sixth metro project in the country, city’s women are ready to steer the pink city’s metropolitan dream. How? Women are handling jobs from controlling stations to running trains. This includes Engineer, Train Operator, Maintenance Officers, etc. Six out of 24 Metro train operators in the system, i.e. 25 per cent of metro drivers, are women! With this, Jaipur Metro represents a courageous step in terms of women’s empowerment in our city & the state.
Though the schedule was tight yesterday, I still managed to grab few inspiring stories of women-staff at the Metro station.
- Monika Mittal, who operated Jaipur metro’s pre-launch run for the media told me:
“I have always heard people say women can’t drive. By operating the metro, I wanted to shatter that image. That was the moving force behind me applying for the job. I’ve made my dream come true.”
I could also meet her husband Raj Agarwal who came to see his wife running the fastest train in the city. According to him, Monika is not just a great wife but also a very good professional. He is proud to support the lady of his life.
“Usually when trains passed through my locality, I was enthralled by their speed and sound. I told my father about my wish to be an engine driver once but he declined as women were not allowed to enter the field,” added Monika Mittal.
At present, Monika Mittal is working as a Station Controller and Train Operator. When she took over the control panel of metro in Jaipur, passengers were keen to see her (even I was!). There were talks about how could a woman drive the engine. At that, I could see the happiness on Monika’s face.
- 25-year-old Shahnaz Khan, Priya Mittal and Manisha Kharediya are appointed as Junior Engineers. Shahnaz told me:
“The working environment is very peaceful here. Especially for women staff, we have a pick and drop facility. Also working shifts for us has been fixed according to the convenience.”
I asked one of the female passengers Dr. Arpita Jaggi to give her feedback on Jaipur metro:
“Metro will make travelling for passengers very easy. Especially in a city like Jaipur where the temperature is so high, this kind of travelling will be a sigh of relief for us.”
- Rekha Chauhan from the maintenance department shared:
“My family is very happy with me working in the metro. I feel extremely empowered with my job.’’
- A single mother and one of the six women operators, Kusum Kanwar, who is in the cover photo with her family was not even allowed to ride a two-wheeler when she was young. Now that she is hired as a ‘driver’ of the metro is a matter of the accomplishment. She has definitely broken the limitations. Her entire family was present at the station to see her behind the wheel of Rajasthan’s most sophisticated mode of urban transport — the Jaipur Metro.
For all these girls the major concern is punctuality, safety of the passengers and speed. They wish to do well and make everyone, who gave them this opportunity, proud.
JWB hopes that the inspiration hidden in these stories can help other women take up the profession of their choice without giving in to the societal attitude.
PS: However, unlike Delhi, Jaipur Metro does not have any pink coaches. Since Jaipur Metro has only four coaches, it could not separate ‘women-only’ coaches – that means, you will not have any reserved seating. Let’s just hope no case of sexual harassment will be reported in our new metro, and Jaipur men will share the ride with women responsibly.
Photograph by: Nupur Agarwal