HYDERABAD: At around five minutes to four o’clock, an argument erupts between a middle-aged man and the reservation clerk at Begumpet railway station. Not that it was one of its kind issue, the passenger with a ticket-for-two to Ahmedabad in Bhavnagar Express had just missed the train which in fact had no halt at the station. He argued for a refund which the reservation clerk refused to oblige. A couple of minutes later, he asked for alternate options to reach Ahmedabad.
The reservation clerk explained him how he could take an MMTS train from Begumpet to Secunderabad, board Satavahana Express to Warangal and then catch the Navjeevan Express to Ahmedabad. The ticket for `670 is printed and the passenger requests the clerk to keep it aside so that he can collect the required money from his wife. “It has been around 15 minutes and he has not returned. Now, if he doesn’t return, I will have to pay up from my pocket. Going by the rules, we have to collect money first before printing a ticket,” exclaimed M R Padmashri, the reservation clerk.
Padmashri is among the 12 personnel who have been posted at the Begumpet railway station as part of South Central Railways’ latest initiative declaring Begumpet as all women railway station on Thursday. Speaking on the initiative, she said, “It is always better working with women colleagues. We can share even our personal problems. This is very helpful and we are looking forward to it,” said Padmashri, who joined SCR as a booking clerk in 1992.
“Commuters can be very rude at times, but that is just one per cent,” Padmashri pointed out. She added, “It is because the general perception is that we don’t do any work and still take salaries.” Sharing her experience, ticket examiner Chandrakala, said: “We feel quite important. It is a recognition that an entire railway station is now being managed by women.” She is, however, aware of the fact that more responsibilities come with power.
“Handling passengers of different mentalities, especially those with improper tickets or found inebriated and creating nuisance, is a challenge. Now, if we encounter any issues, our RPF personnel who will intervene are also going to be women. It is going to be a challenge,” she said. Between 6 am and 2 pm, four booking and reservation clerks and one ticket examiner will be on the job.
Five booking and reservation clerks and one ticket examiner is on duty between 2pm and 10 pm and between 10pm and 6pm, there are only two booking clerks on duty. Apart from these women, a group D woman staff would be at service. The in-charge of the station is chief commercial supervisor, another woman officer. Apart from this, two women RPF constables will report to a woman RPF sub-inspector per each shift making Begumpet an all woman railway station.