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Sunday, December 08, 2019

What it is like being a marshal on a DTC bus in Delhi

With the Delhi government’s free bus ride scheme for women rolling out on October 29, 13,000 bus marshals have been deployed on buses to ensure their safety. Sharma has been working as a marshal on DTC buses since January 2018.

Written by Ananya Tiwari | Updated: November 3, 2019 12:06:18 am
‘Women get harassed. I too look for police, call 100.’ (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

How were you recruited?

When I applied in 2017, I was rejected because of my height. I am five feet four inches tall. They wanted people above five feet five inches. But when I applied for the second time in January 2018, I somehow got through. I have studied till Class 12.

Is the job well-paying?

My elder brother is married and lives in Agra. My parents and younger sister, who is in school, live with me. Since my father has liver problems, I run the house. I get paid Rs 688 for a day’s work. I have to give Rs 10,000 as rent. The salary is not enough… We have been demanding medical insurance and other benefits that government employees get.

What are your duty hours?

We work in eight-hour shifts. The job seems easy, but it’s quite hard. Some passengers even taunt us… Most of them think Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has done us a favour by giving us a job. It’s not true.

What kind of problems do you face on the job?

I have seen men harassing women many times. But if there are four-five tall guys, we cannot do anything if they don’t listen. In such cases, we try to look for police, get to a police station, or call 100… Our job is citizen safety. But if I don’t have a weapon or lathi to defend myself, how will I take care of citizens?

What are your demands?

We did not even get a Diwali bonus, unlike the conductors and drivers.

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