KOLKATA: The Hijli railway station near IIT-Kharagpur in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district became the first railway station in the eastern state on International Women’s Day to be run exclusively by women.Twenty-five women, including two station managers and one station master, will look after management, signaling and maintenance and security of the railway station that falls on the Kharagpur-Bhubaneswar route.
“Hijli station is now a pride of West Bengal and we will provide full security cover to the staff and the passengers at the station,” a woman RPF (Railway Protection Force) officer said.According to the Southeastern Railway (SER) zonal sources, the Centre has ordered to operationalise one all women-run station in every railway zone.
The Indian Railways has appointed all-women staff at its suburban stations Matunga, Gandhinagar (Rajasthan), Govindpuri (Uttar Pradesh), Chandragiri (Andhra Pradesh), Vidyanagar (Telangana), Maninagar (Gujarat) New Amaravati station (Maharashtra) and Ajni (Nagpur) stations to name a few.
International Women’s Day (March 8) was chosen for the hand over of the station to women staff, South Eastern Railway Public Relations Officer Sanjay Ghosh said.
The move was appreciated by both local residents and IIT students who hope that the distinction will now lead to revamp of facilities at the station.“Despite being so near to the oldest IIT campus in the country, the railway station lacks basic facilities, including streetlights, which make it unsafe for women at night,” Seema Khatri, a third-year IIT student said.“Not only the side towards the IIT, the approach road from Kharagpur town through Jhuli area is also in poor shape,” Rakesh Singh, a local resident, said.