International Women's Day: These women are motoring Mumbai's lifelines

These women have set an example by taking up professions usually associated with men

On International Women’s Day, mid-day interacted with those women who run the city’s various lifelines-professions generally associated with men.

(From L to R) Saroj Pande, Pratiksha Ambole, Preeti Kumari and Sushma Karad were recently felicitated at a city event for braving the odds and taking a path less travelled
(From L to R) Saroj Pande, Pratiksha Ambole, Preeti Kumari and Sushma Karad were recently felicitated at a city event for braving the odds and taking a path less travelled

Preeti Kumari (38) has been monitoring the Western Railways for almost six years now. “There were thousands of applicants when I applied for the job, out of which only 440 passed the written test. I was the only woman who had made it to the final 70,” said Kumari.

Born and brought up in Bihar, Kumari operates the line from Churchgate to Virar. Having completed her Diploma in Electric engineering, she is the only motor woman on the entire Western railway Line who maneuvers the suburban local trains.

However, she confesses that it is no easy task to handle the crowd during peak hours. “People are in such hurry. There are times when people resort to crossing the railway tracks instead of taking the over bridge to save time and this can lead to accidents. There have been instances where I have been able to save the person.

But, if there is a speeding train, then things can turn fatal. As a motor woman, it’s really difficult to deal with such instances. Initially, I used to get emotionally disturbed,” added Kumari who is grateful that her colleagues have always been supportive.

Pratiksha Ambole (24) and Saroj Pandey (24), who have been operating the Metro since its inception, are among the five females staff members of the Metro Railways. The duo, who have bachelors degree in Engineering (Instrumentation) say that it has not been an easy journey. “People used to question our choice of profession, especially given our academic background. However, we wanted to work with the Metro and our parents supported us all through,” said Ambole.

Sushma Karad (26) is said to be the youngest woman operating the Monorail. “The sharp turns and speed can sometimes be scary, but that’s what we are trained for. In our field one not only needs to be physically agile but also mentally strong”,
said Karad.

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