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Mrunal Manmay Dash

In a male-dominated drivers' community, where women drivers are still frowned upon, a lady in Balasore has made her mark as a dependable auto-rickshaw driver in the city.

Be it taking students to school or dropping off passengers at bus stand and railway station, Madhumita Bindhani, a mother of two, has scripted her success story with three wheels.

Bindhani, who hails from Badasahi in Mayurbhanj, got married to a man in the same town. But after some years of matrimony, the couple got separated and Bindhani was left with two children and an uncertain future.

However, her separation never bogged her down and she decided to take matters into her own hands and set out on a journey that although looked unsustainable at the beginning, but turned out to be quite rewarding.

Sitting comfortably on her rickshaw’s driver seat, a beaming Bindhani said she has never regretted her decision of buying the auto-rickshaw through bank loan.

The auto rickshaw not only put her on the driver’s seat of life, but it also helped her life steer clear of poverty by providing a decent earning through which she can make the ends of her children meet.

Though she was never promoted from class 8, she understands the value of education. Thanks to the earnings from driving, she is not only able to feed her children adequately, but also pay for the education of her children in a CBSE affiliated school where her son is studying in class 12 and her daughter in class 6.

Speaking about her efforts, Bindhani said, “I am proud of the fact that I do not have to beg or ask others for money. This auto-rickshaw has provided me with enough money to sustain my family in this cut-throat competitive environment.”

Pradeep Mohapatra, another auto rickshaw driver who knows Bindhani from her initial days of driving, said, “She is an inspiration for other women who could not muster enough courage to come out of the house.”

On this Mother’s Day, Bindhani, who is fondly called as Balasore’s first woman driver, pledged to make the lives of her children eventless unlike her.

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