Mumbai, 28th August 2022: For the first time, 215 women employees were supposed to be hired to play the dual role of driver and conductor in Maharashtra State Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses. The recruitment process began three years ago. But after that, the state transport (ST) Corporation kept the decision to hire them in abeyance. This recruitment was suspended at the time by the ST Corporation after the Covid-19 restrictions and the resulting financial crisis. This moratorium is still in place due to which, their training has also been stopped.
Officials of the ST Corporation explained that the state government, which provides funds for wages, will now take the appropriate decision regarding the recruitment of women drivers. The ST Corporation decided to select women from tribal and drought-affected areas as drivers. Accordingly, the process of recruitment of women drivers under direct service recruitment started in March 2019. After scrutinizing the applications, 194 women were selected. In addition, 21 women from tribal areas were also selected.
A total of 215 women were selected for training. The training of these women started on 23rd August 2019 at Balgandharva Rangmandir in Pune by former President Pratibhatai Patil. These women have light vehicle licenses. However, a heavy vehicle license is required to drive an ST. They were issued a temporary heavy vehicle license and began their training based on that. After the completion of training, a permanent license would be given to these women drivers. These women drivers were to be inducted into service between January and February 2021 after completing their learner’s license training and final test. But, in 2020, due to the Covid-19 crisis, layoffs were implemented and training was stopped which prolonged the period of joining the service.
The ST Corporation, which was in a financial crisis, suspended this training during the Covid-19 pandemic. So, the recruitment process got disrupted. Shekhar Channe, Managing Director ST Corporation, said, “The moratorium on the recruitment of women employees who would play the dual role of drivers and conductors is still in place. A decision will be taken soon. At present, the state government is providing funds for the wages of ST employees. Therefore, the approval of the government will also have to be taken for the recruitment of these women employees.”