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Project ‘Sakhi’ to provide safer transport for women commuters in Uttarakhand

Thirty-one-year-old Sushma Verma, a resident of Dehradun’s Mela Ram colony, has chosen by the Uttarakhand government to be the recipient of an e-rickshaw on the occasion of the International Women’s Day

dehradun Updated: Mar 07, 2018 21:38 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand news,e-rickshaw,International Women’s Day
The Uttarakhand government will gift seven e-rickshaws to women on the occasion of the International Women's Day. (Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo.)

Thirty-one-year-old Sushma Verma, a resident of Dehradun’s Mela Ram colony, has chosen by the Uttarakhand government to be the recipient of an e-rickshaw on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.

Verma is proud of her driving skills but, what makes her even more proud is that she will be able to contribute to supplement her family’s income.

Like Verma, there are seven women chosen by the state government who will be gifted with the eco-friendly three-wheelers to ensure that they are self-reliant and be able to earn their own livelihood.

“My husband drives a rickshaw and I wanted to support my family and so learnt driving from him,” she says.

“I am happy that I will be able to contribute to the family’s income.”

The state government aims at promote women drivers and the service called “Sakhi” is meant to provide safe transport for women, will be a step towards women empowerment, says minister of state for women and child welfare department Rekha Arya.

The e-rickshaws will play on the streets of Dehradun and the state government has plans to extend the facility in other cities, including Rudrapur, Jaspur, Haldwani and especially in Haridwar, she says.

“Most women foreign tourists or single woman tourist visit Haridwar and by starting the service in the city we want to provide them better and safer transport facility.”

While driving does not seem a bad option for women in Uttarakhand, the issue is lack of proper training, says Mamta Pojari, the first woman cab driver in the state.

Pojari, who hails from Rudraprayag and trains women to become drivers in Dehradun, says: “Why only e-rickshaws, the government should start training women to drive taxies and buses.”

“Women drive safely, which will also ensure in reduced number of accidents on tourist routes like Char Dham Yatra among others.”

If there are sufficient applications that demand the need for starting training centres for women, the government will do it, says Arya.

Chief minister TS Rawat will be launching Sakhi project along with a special facility to single women by providing loans at 1% interest rate.

State government figures show that there are four lakh women in Uttarakhand who are single or whose husbands have died or are divorced.

These women will be encouraged take up livelihood activities like organic farming, fisheries and other through the loan facility.

First Published: Mar 07, 2018 21:38 IST