BHUBANESWAR: For the first time, an all women crew - two loco pilots and a guard - took independent charge of a goods train and piloted it from Khurda Road to Palasa on the eve of International Women’s Day. The Women’s Special goods train run by East Coast Railway (ECoR) covered over 400 km in both directions between Khurda Road and Palasa by chugging for 20 hours.
The all-women crew started on Friday from Khurda Road at 10.30 am and reached Palasa at 5.30 pm. In the return direction, it left Palasa at 5.45 am on Saturday and reached Khurda Road at about 7 pm. The crew of loco pilot Munni Tigga and assistant loco pilot Rajeswari Biswal along with Revati Singh on guard duty delivered closed containers.
They maintained speed in coordination with the signals by station masters of different stations and successfully completed the mission. Earlier Tigga and Biswal had driven goods trains, but along with men counterparts. This is for the first time that they handled the job on their own.
Tigga said, "Usually handling carriage trains is difficult, but we preferred it to prove our strength. Women are at par with the men."
A native of Sundargarh district, Tigga (35) had joined as assistant loco pilot in 2011 after completing ITI in mechanical grade. She was elevated to loco pilot in 2016.
"I feel proud to have assisted the loco pilot in the first women special train. My dream is to lead the team. I will work hard to inspire others so that many like us can also adopt the job," said Rajeswari (26), who hails from Jagatsinghpur district.
With the theme ‘Each for Equal’, Khurda Road division is observing International Women’s Day campaign from March 1 to 10. The division has 20 women loco pilots and 19 assistant loco pilots. Khurda Road DRM Sashi Kant Singh said there is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.
"They are the pride of the division and an inspiration to the society. It will give an impetus to women empowerment," he added.