Parul Kush Jain took over as the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) for Panchkula on Monday. But that's just a part of the picture. The district now has women on almost all key posts, even though the irony of its skewed sex ratio is accentuated all the more now.
The list runs long. While the district's deputy commissioner is Ashima Brar, both sub-divisional magistrates are women too -- Sharandeep Brar for Panchkula and Manita Malik for Kalka.
Sessions judge Anita Chaudhary heads the judicial department. Besides her, there is additional district and sessions judge Kanchan Mahi, and also a female chief judicial magistrate, Gurvinder Kaur.
In the education department too, the district education officer is Nalini Mimani, a woman, and the district elementary education officer, Anita Anand, also belongs to what for ages was considered the weaker gender.
The two principals of government colleges in Panchkula city are also women -- Savita Tayal, who heads Government College, Sector 1, and Dr Usha Malik, who heads Government College for Girls, Sector 14.
That's quite remarkable, but is still not all.
Pooja Chaudhary heads the district drug control department, while the secretary of the Red Cross Society is Vijay Lakshmi and the principal medical officer at General Hospital, Sector 6, is Dr Usha Gupta.
Even the Member of Parliament who represents Panchkula as part of her constituency Ambala, is a woman, Kumari Selja, who is also the union minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation.
But here's the irony.
Though represented by women at top posts, Panchkula district has the sixth worst sex ratio in the state at 870 (number of females per 1,000 males) as per Census 2011. In 2001, the sex ratio was 823.
The child sex ratio (0-6 years) is 850, as per Census 2011. In 2001, the child sex ratio was 823.
Women's participation in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) is just 10.39%, as per figures of 2011-12. Worse, the district witnesses a rape a month and about four snatchings (victims are women) every month, as per crime figures of the last year.
INLD councillor Seema Chaudhary, the leader of opposition in the MC and thus herself one of the women on top posts, told HT, "Women at all top posts will definitely uplift the condition of women. Especially with a woman DCP, crime against women will come down. In any case, women are more dedicated towards work than men."
"Women at top posts will have a positive impact on society. Besides inspiring women to join various important services, it will also change the attitude of men towards us. It can, in effect, curb female foeticide," said Red Cross secretary Vijay Lakshmi.
Profile of top 4 administrative heads
DC Ashima Brar has been serving the district for more than two years now. She is a 2004-batch IAS officer, who joined the district in 2010. Before that, she worked as assistant commissioner, Gurgaon, and as SDM and then ADC at Hisar. The start of a helpline to curb crime against women is one of major contributions
DCP Parul Kush Jain is a 2004-batch officer. A post-graduate in botany, she has also worked as ASP at Howrah and South 24 Parganas in West Bengal. In December 2010, she joined as DCP (central), Faridabad. In May 2011, she joined as SP, Kurukshetra and is now here. "Solving people's problems is my top priority. Once I review the crime graph, I will take action," she said. On snatching incidents, she said the district police would coordinate with SAS Nagar and Chandigarh as accused flee to the neighbouring areas.
SDM (Panchkula) Sharandeep Brar is a 2009-batch officer and Panchkula is her first posting. She was ranked second in the civil services examination and has been serving the district for the last eight months.
SDM (Kalka) Manita Malik is a 2004-batch Haryana Civil Service (HCS) officer. In between, she joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 2008 but resigned in 2011. Kalka is her first posting after rejoining HCS.
FIGURING OUT THE IRONY
Women literacy rate of Panchkula district
Census 2011 77.5 %
Census 2001 65.7%
Sex ratio (girls per 1,000 boys)
Census 2011 870
Census 2001 823