Hyderabad: As the Hyderabad Metro Rail gets ready to chug across the city next month, women are going to be a major driving force behind the world’s largest public private partnership project.
HMR, which will have over 100 loco pilots, already has 35 women steering its trains. Several months of rigorous training apart, these women have already logged in several thousands of km of train piloting over the last 18 months of trial runs by the HMR.
And as the launch date gets closer, they too, like every other Hyderabadi, are eagerly awaiting to see the city’s dream project take wings.
Unlike a majority of their friends, who have gone into software development and other professions, these women, most of them engineering graduates and diploma holders have decided to opt for a tougher and comparatively new avenue.
“Hyderabad Metro Rail provided me with an opportunity to prove a point and I grabbed it with both hands. Forget the past, women are now driving trains and I am proud to be one among them,” says K Sindhuja of Warangal, who has logged in over 8,000 km during the last 18 months.
With 35 women loco pilots, and more likely to join the team, HMR will probably have the highest number of women crew on board as it commences operations.
It was not a cakewalk for these women to get selected. Gruelling psychometric tests, research designs and standards organisation tests, several technical rounds and medical tests later, they had to undergo six months of intense training, including backbreaking sessions on simulators.
But for many, more than these tests, it was the task of convincing their parents that was a challenge.
“Initially my mother was apprehensive about the job, but my dad supported me a lot,” says B Vennela of Mahabubnagar, who has completed 3,000 km so far.
For S Supriya from Nizamabad, the job is both challenging and exciting.
“My friends definitely earn a bit more, but when I ask them ‘Can you drive a train?’ they remain silent. Finance is important, but job satisfaction is even more,” says Supriya, who has 2,500 km of loco-piloting on record.
Interestingly, most of these women are not ready to drive a train all their lives. “We want to go on to handle the jobs of a station controller, a depot controller and even traffic controller,” they say.