For the first time ever, the Western Railway (WR) has taken the initiative of deploying women ticket checkers on a long-distance train, reported Mumbai Mirror.

So those travelling by the Mumbai-Surat Intercity Express today are likely to meet the two ladies.

The chain breakers — women ticket checkers Neeru Wadhava and Radha Iyer — are gearing up to check commuters travelling first class on Mumbai-Surat Intercity Express. After a three-month trial, it will be decided – based on the TCs’ performance and acceptance — whether or not they are ready to take up the duty in sleeper class and general compartments.

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Till now, WR used to have women ticket checking staff only in the ladies compartments of suburban trains or on platforms. But this is for the first time that women are being appointed as TCs on long-distance trains. Pushing this initiative will definitely send a positive message. The main reason was to put out a message of women’s empowerment, starting on Women’s Day.

In a bid to kickstart the idea, WR has already listed 20 women who are experienced in the field and can take up the role of ticket checkers on this long-distance train.

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Divided into three batches, these women are sent out to the Mumbai-Surat Intercity Express. After the trial period is over, they will be enrolled in training sessions starting November. The training will last four months.

“When we started sending out the women in batches on dummy checks, we realised that there were a lot of problems like no resting room for female staff in Surat. We got them fixed,” a senior WR official said.

Male ticket checkers are given beds on long-distant trains. Similarly, women ticket examiners too have a restroom with proper amenities like toilets and beds.

Divisional railway manager, WR, Mukul Jain stated that their initial plan was to book one train entirely with women staff. The wanted it to be a women-operated train — be it the train escorts or the loco pilot, but that was ruled out due to lack of woman loco pilots and staff crunch.

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Feature Image Credit: Mumbai Mirror

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