When you visit Bongaigaon, a small township of Assam, you can see the “Pink Autorickshaws” on road. These pink auto rickshaws exclusively driven by women for women.
Actually this is an initiative of the National Urban Livelihood Mission and Bongaigaon Municipal Corporation under City Management Mission, and supported by the Bongaigaon refinery of IOCL and SBI.
Thirteen women from economically-challenged background were included in the first batch and given freshly painted pink autos here last week under the National Urban Livelihood Mission, said its Bongaigaon city project manager Kusumbar Choudhury.
“We have taken all measures to ensure safety and security of these women drivers and tried our best to help these women earn their livelihood in a dignified manner”, Kusumbar added.
These women were among 20, most of them married, drawn from a self help group (SHG) to be provided driving lessons by Dispur Driving Training School in Guwahati, he said.
The women were provided with the autos after two months of training, he said, adding they would wear salwar-kameez as uniform when on the road from morning till 6 pm initially.
Ten of the autos were donated by Bongaigaon Refinery and the rest three procured by the SHG with loan from a nationalised bank. Pink autorickshaw service run exclusively for women and children is operational in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Surat, Ranchi and Bhubaneswar, Choudhury said.
The Bongaigaon Auto Union has lent support to the initiative and the 13 women drivers will be its members with each issued a helpline number to contact the police and ambulance service at times of emergency.