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Vikash Sharma

Taking a bold decision might not come easy for many, but several women drivers in Bhubaneswar have proved that one can do wonders if one dedicatedly moves towards achieving their goal in life. With an aim to eke out a dignified livelihood, a lot of women from Patharbandh areas in the Capital City have now taken up the work as drivers of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) solid waste transporting vehicles.

For Junarani Behera, taking up driving as a profession was not easy as it is mostly considered to be the male bastion. Even a lot of people in the locality discouraged her saying that it's difficult to drive heavy vehicles.

“When I initially started taking driving lessons, many discouraged me by saying that it is not easy to drive a truck. Ignoring such comments, I made up my mind to prove everybody wrong,” said Junarani.

With her truck, Junarani moves from one locality to the other to collect solid waste from the designated bins in Bhubaneswar. From early morning till 2 pm in the afternoon, Junarani works non-stop to see that there is no delay in lifting and disposal of solid waste.

She is quite elated as she is able to support the family by earning a monthly salary of Rs 11,500 from the job.

Not only Junarani, Manorama Das and Bimala Nayak, the other women drivers too have no regrets about taking up the job.

“Everybody thinks that women are born for cooking and looking after kids. Thinking about taking up driving as a profession and that too BMC’s solid waste trucks was not easy. But I took it up as a challenge and proved everybody wrong,” said Manorama, a driver.

The story of Bimala Nayak is also not different. She said, “I always prayed to take the steering wheel in my hands. As my husband is also a driver by profession, I did not face problems as he also supported my decision.”

It was the effort of the Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD) which had organised a driving training course for a lot of women in the locality and it is yielding positive results. Apart from driving lessons for eight months, the Centre had also imparted self-defense and spoken English lessons to a lot of women as part of the campaign.

Sita Das, CYSD member said, “It was challenging for women who usually take up sewing and other jobs as profession. But all these women have proved that nothing is impossible.”

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