Meet the lady who guards the tracks in Maoist hotbed
Savitri Nag Yadav is paid to keep a lonely vigil where even security forces fear to tread. Though employed as a lowly ‘khalasi’ with the Indian Railways, the risks that Savitri takes are indeed high. Bastar is where Maoists are engaged in a conflict with the Indian state, targeting both government property and personnel. She sets out every day to guard a 7km-long railway track winding across the undulating terrain from Geedam to Kulnoor. Savitri tiptoes along the track, making sure that everything, right from fishplates — metal pieces that hold adjacent rails — to the tracks on which at least two dozen goods and a passenger train run everyday, are in order. Trudging along to check every nut and bolt, she also has to keep an eye out for wild animals and, more importantly, the Maoists.