ROURKELA: A steel mill, they believed, was no place for women. Indeed, performing challenging jobs under intense conditions was always considered the fiefdom of men until a group of women proved it wrong.
Women employees of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) have conquered many a male bastion and overcome the psychological barriers and social prejudices.
As part of ‘Veerangana’ project, that motivates women employees to take up challenging tasks, the personnel department of RSP identified a group of women employees and engaged them in ‘crane operation’, first job for them on the plant premises.
For the launch, the new state-of-the-art plate mill provided the right ambience. Senior operator (cranes), plate mill, Krutartha Nayak, who trained the women, said, “It was duty to ensure that they become competent enough to match any man in terms of skill and expertise.”
After mastering the special safety training, Pritilata Karar became the first woman crane operator in RSP. The other three women employees who have been trained in crane operation are Sonam Tiwari, Babita Parida and Lata Pati, currently deployed in plate mill. After undergoing structured on-the-job training, many other women employees are independently handling pulpit operating positions like dividing shear operation, double side trimming shear operation, piler operation, which were traditionally a male domain.
While Sumitra Badaik has become the first lady pulpit operator at new plate mill, Bharati Tanty, Mamta Patra, Rajni Kindo and Pushpshila Kumari have become the torch-bearers in learning the nuances of operating double side trimming shear, piler and automatic plate marking machine.
Buoyed with the enthusiasm among women employees, Senior SSW, Mechanical Shop, Damayanti Tanty has been given the charge of operating drilling machine while OCT (trainee), SMS-II, Archana Sahu, is picking up the nuances of operation of basic oxygen furnace in the BOF control room.
The women find adequate support from their male colleagues who encourage them without resenting.