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C Shikha: IAS Officer Takes Bus Wheel For A Test Drive In Bangalore

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On Tuesday, several Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) employees were inspired by managing director C Shikha. A video of her test-driving a Volvo bus went viral which charmed the employees. She is an IAS officer who hit the news recently, for inspecting a bus by sitting behind the wheel and taking it for a test drive.

Shikha’s Test Drive

The former IAS officer was accompanied by senior company officers while she drove the bus at the Hoskote Training Centre on Saturday. Her driving got a lot of support from the driver’s male-dominated workforce and also, made Prema Ramappa Nadapatti smile. Prema is the only woman bus driver in BMTC which has 14000 drivers, 6400 buses and ridership of 36 lakhs.

Sikha is a 2004 IAS officer, who became the managing director back in September. Her test drive had a couple of brake failures which led to accidents. However, her initiative got mixed responses, some citizens wanted to know if she possessed a license, whereas others were impressed with her for breaking gender roles.

Key Takeaways:

  • C Sikha, a former IAS officer and the managing director in Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation drove a bus to check its maintenance quality.
  • On Tuesday, her video of driving a bus went viral. It inspired many females and man drivers. However, some citizens were concerned about Shikha driving without a driving license.
  • BMTC soon after released a report which claimed that Shikha has a heavy passenger driver’s learning license and that trained professionals were present when she was driving.

A BMTC spokesperson in a statement said, “The vehicle was driven at the training center in a controlled environment… No harm was caused to the public.’’ He furthermore, added that Shikha has a learner’s license for driving heavy vehicles.

Sikha is a 2004 IAS officer, who became the managing director back in September. Her test drive had a couple of brake failures which led to accidents.

Congress MLA, former minister Priyank Kharge tweeted “We are weird. We criticize BMTC MD for driving a bus in a driving school, but we hail politicos who drive buses jeopardizing lives.”

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Generating more women drivers

Women comprise only 15 percent of the license holders of the state. BMTC has reserved around 7.5 crores to train 1000 women. These women would receive training in driving heavy and lightweight vehicles free of cost under the Nirbhaya Fund. However, BMTC’s plan of 33 percent reservation for women drivers hasn’t come into action for a long time. This would help generate employment for women and also help them work with app-based taxis (Uber/Ola) and educational institutions.

Drivers with Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) license for a year can apply for Heavy Passenger Vehicle (HPV) License to drive buses. While LMV applicants are trained on city roads, HPV drivers are trained at the centre in Vaddarahalli on Magadi Road.

Inspiration for other women drivers

“Our MD (Shikha) is an inspiration and a role model for others. I have never seen a woman officer driving a bus. It is not easy but she was focused and drove without fear. This also shows she’s passionate about the buses and understands the problems faced by drivers. This will inspire more women,” said Prema Ramappa Nadapatti, the only woman driver in BMTC.

BMTC has reserved around 7.5 crores to train 1000 women. These women would receive training in driving heavy and lightweight vehicles free of cost under the Nirbhaya Fund.

Prema has been doing this job for more than years and has faced several hardships as a driver. The most major ones including traffic congestion and rash riding by two-wheelers. She drives on the Kempegowda Bus Station-Begur route.

Read Also: Why Women Driving Is Still A Rare Sight In Indian Advertisements

Image credits: STP

Gaurika Taneja is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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