KADAPA: Twenty-five-year-old Y Malasri, a homemaker and the mother of two, has become the first woman in Kadapa district to enrol in a heavy vehicle driving training programme organised by the APSRTC. When she drove a bus on the first day of the programme here on Saturday, Malasri surprised her instructors by driving the heavy vehicle with such ease and finesse.
After completing Intermediate and a course in diesel mechanics, Malasri is now pursuing a distance degree course. “When women can drive trains and pilot aircrafts, why can’t they drive buses? Even my husband believes that any knowledge or skill comes handy in one’s life, and he encouraged me to join the course after coming to know of my interest,” she told TNIE.
When she approached district driving inspector S Krishna Reddy while he was training the third batch at Kadapa RIMS Outer Ring Road, the 25-year-old was told that she needed a light vehicle licence and three years of driving experience as qualifications for the heavy vehicle training, for which the fees is Rs 23,600.
“I told him that I fulfil all the criteria, my desire to drive a bus and possibly get a job with the APSRTC. All that I asked him was to give me a chance to show my skills,” she said, adding she can comfortably handle a car.
The trial impressed Krishna Reddy who instantly agreed to enrol her in the programme. But as a batch had already started, she was asked to join the fourth batch, training of which started this Saturday. “Malasri is definitely an inspiration. She did well and drove the bus quite comfortably. There is no hard and fast rule that only men can drive heavy vehicles,” Reddy said.
Though there are several light motor vehicle driving schools in the state, there are not many institutions that offer for heavy vehicles’ training as the only lorry driving school is in Vijayawada. Seeing the demand, former RTC MD M Pratap Reddy during his tenure had decided to start a driving school in every parliamentary constituency to get skilled personnel for the corporation.
Even as the ground was being prepared, Covid-19 pandemic happened and the project was put on hold. After July, with the slowdown in Covid-19 cases, the training programme kicked off in Kadapa. For every batch, 16 people are recruited, and three batches have completed the programme so far.