NCRTC has taken up a special initiative in the Ghaziabad area, providing driving training for women homemakers.
Under this training program, approximately 500 women aged between 18 to 35 are being given driving lessons in separate batches.
This initiative has been undertaken with an objective of enabling the women participants so that they can enhance their livelihoods and be economically independent.
Prior to the conduct of this driving training program, an awareness campaign was also carried out for the women in various neighborhoods of Ghaziabad through surveys, emphasizing the idea of becoming economically self-reliant by learning to drive.
Based on this survey, a list of women interested in learning to drive was compiled, and with the collaboration of the Maruti Motor Training Center in Ghaziabad, driving training is being provided. This driving training for women is being conducted in four phases over 21 days (one hour daily).
In the initial phase, for about 4-5 days, women are given classroom training to acquaint them with the rules of driving and precautions to be taken while driving. Following this, in the second phase, technical information about vehicles is provided for 2-3 days.
Subsequently, in the third phase, they are taught to maintain control while driving through simulators for 4-5 days. Finally, in the last phase, women are being guided to practice driving on the roads in a controlled environment. Additionally, NCRTC is assisting these women participants in obtaining learning license for driving.
Upon completion of the driving training, the women participants will be able to become self-reliant by driving vehicles like taxis or e-rickshaws, fulfilling the economic needs of their households.
This driving training program is being administered with the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the JFPR (Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific) grant.
NCRTC regularly organizes such programs for women's safety and empowerment, having trained hundreds of women under similar initiatives including training taxi drivers, gender sensitization for drivers and conductors, and skill development for employment.
RRTS is believed to be the safest mode of transit in the region, especially for women travelers. One coach next to the premium coach in the train has been reserved for women passengers and apart from this, seats are also reserved for women passengers in all other coaches.
To provide a safe travel experience to women passengers in Namo Bharat trains, elaborate security, and safety arrangements have also been implemented. CCTVs have been installed in the entire train and RRTS station premises for monitoring. The majority of train operators and station controllers in RRTS are women.
On October 20, 2023, the Minister inaugurated the 17 km long priority section (Sahibabad to Duhai) of India's first RRTS corridor and flagged off the Namo Bharat Train.
Beyond the priority section, trial runs of Namo Bharat trains have also recently started in the approximately 25 km stretch between Duhai and Meerut South RRTS station and train services will also start in this section soon. This section includes a total of four stations Murad Nagar, Modi Nagar South, Modi Nagar North and Meerut South.
Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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