Sunita Chaudhary has been driving an auto-rickshaw on Delhi’s streets for almost five years. She now wants to see more women taking up this unconventional vocation.
Chaudhary, who is the first woman in Delhi to have taken up auto-rickshaw driving, will give lessons to other women on driving an auto-rickshaw.
The training, said Chaudhary, will be imparted on her own auto-rickshaw and will be free of cost.
Chaudhary has already done the spadework for this empowerment programme. She went door-to-door to convince women, who are facing hardships, to learn driving and take up this profession to become self-sufficient.
“More than 200 women in the age group of 20-40 years have registered. Most of them are educated but do not have a job and are forced to live in poverty. I motivated them to come out of their homes and take up auto-rickshaw driving,” said Chaudhary.
The “aspiring auto-rickshaw drivers” will be trained for two hours twice a day in Andolan Park, Malviya Nagar. “I met the chief minister of Delhi as well as the transport minister to provide me some place where I could train women in driving skills but nothing materialised,” said Chaudhary.
Once the women are trained, Chaudhary will also help them to get driving licences and permits for three-wheelers.
“I had to struggle for almost three years to get a commercial driver’s licence. Finding auto on rent was also a difficult task. I will ensure that the women taking up auto-rickshaw driving face no such problem,” she said.
With the Commonwealth Games just two years away, Chaudhary feels the city needs some women auto and taxi drivers to provide women visitors a safe public transport system in Delhi.
“I feel autos are safer than taxis for women drivers because they are open from sides. Hence, women should take up auto-rickshaw driving in large numbers,” said Chaudhary.