In a state where the public utility for bus transport, the Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation, is woefully short of conductors with only 1,400 on the rolls against a sanctioned strength of 4,000, transport minister GS Bali has said the government wants to get more women conductors on board.
"We want to recruit more women conductors to ensure safety of women even though the number of cases of harassment in public transport is minimal," said Bali.
Only 25 women conductors are with the HRTC and most of them have been adjusted in office-work. Historically, women in Himachal have not been known to apply for a conductor's job.
"Himachal has a topography that makes the job of a conductor more challenging than other states that have a plain area. This has an impact on women applicants," transport minister GS Bali told HT.
Conductor recruitment has
been marred by controversy
On Oct 19, 2014, around 35,000 candidates appeared for Transport Multi-purpose Assistants Test to fill up 680 posts.
The exam ended up creating a political storm with 19 Congress MLAs challenging the selection process, alleging that preference was given to candidates appearing from Nagotra Bagwan, the constituency of transport minister GS Bali. The matter was taken to high court by petitioner Shashi Bhushan.
The transport minister then initiated a scheme to impart skills to those who want to become conductors through HRTC Employees' Benevolent Fund Society. This was done to bypass the aforementioned pending case with the high court which challenged the process of recruitment of conductors.
One of the applicants filed a case against the scheme introduced by the government under which applications were invited for recruitment of 700 persons under Passenger Service Delivery Skill Development Programme.