Bhubaneswar: Women empowerment has already become a buzzword in inclusive development, but the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) has put the focus on the driver’s seat with slum girls of the Smart District undergoing training to have the control of the wheels. Interestingly, a leading international taxi aggregator has evinced interest to have the future-drivers in their local fleet.
Under the Under Socially Smart Bhubaneswar initiative the BSCL in association with UNFPA and implementing partner Humara Bachpan, has been conducting capacity building and orientation programmes for girls and youth in the slums of the Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD).
The programmes were conducted among adolescent slum girls in four slums in BTCD area such as Shantipalli in Sahid Nagar, Shanti Nagar FCI Colony slum in Kharvel Nagar, Kedarpalli slum in Bapuji Nagar and Jagannnath basti in Kharvel Nagar. After several sessions, 13 young girls from these slums expressed interest for getting trained in driving. They were prepared to appear for the test in order to get admission for the two months driving training course at State Driving Training Institute, Bhubaneswar.
Four of them successfully passed this test and have got selected for the two month driving training at the state driving training institute, which involves theory as well as practical sessions. Once they complete their training at the Chhatia centre, they can be inducted to commercial jobs. The target is to train 50 girls for driving under this initiative.
These four girls, daughters of daily wagers and auto-rickshaw drivers have created example for other girls in the slums of BTCD to take up driving as career similar to the trend in metro cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai. Preliminary discussions with taxi aggregators like UBER have elicited positive response for supporting these women drivers, once they finish the training and obtain licenses.