The pilot run for the Lucknow Metro was done by two women — Pratibha Sharma and Prachi Sharma. Hailing from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, these two are the first women in the country to start the operations of a metro rail.
Metro rail has become the lifeline of many cities — travelling in a metro is not just convenient but also safe. While safety towards women has been a primary concern for metro rails, their participation in the metro operations has been quite low. Apart from Chennai, most cities with metro facilities have witnessed less than three percent of women employed as metro drivers.
It was on December 1, 2016, that Lucknow became the first Indian city to launch its metro with women drivers in control. This decision was taken by the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) to encourage women to join this field.
While Pratibha has a degree in engineering in the Electronics and Communication field, Prachi has earned a diploma in Electrical engineering. Both started working as station controllers for LMRC in the month of June. When LMRC asked for applications regarding the 97 train controller positions, around 3,827 women responded.
Many sections of the society are consistently working towards the equality of women. However, it has been a struggle because of the deep-rooted mindset that women cannot perform certain tasks. Nevertheless, fighting all odds, women are rising and breaking stereotypes in male-dominated professions.
The Managing Director of LMRC, Kumar Keshav, said that the two women drivers were selected to carry out the pilot run of the metro in the presence the UP Chief Minister and common men. He further said that the women drivers are confident and enthusiastic about driving the rail even in difficult days.
Pratibha and Prachi were honoured with the prestigious Rani Lakshmi Bai Bravery Award, 2016, by the Uttar Pradesh government.
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