The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has launched an autorickshaw service exclusively by women and for women in Surat city of Gujarat, according to a report by The Times of India. Named Pink Auto Service, the service was inaugurated by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at Dr Shyama Prasad Community Hall, Aye Mata Chowk, Magob Dumbhal Road on Sunday.
The chief minister also congratulated Surat by tweeting,”Congratulations Surat for introducing Pink Auto – a three-wheeler rickshaw equipped with safety features that ferries only women passengers.”
The civic body has reportedly trained and helped these women drivers procure loans from banks to buy autorickshaws to earn a living. According to the report, “The SMC has tied up with Bank of Baroda (BOB) for providing loans at seven per cent interest to women drivers to purchase their autorickshaws. The BoB has sanctioned Rs 84,000 loan per auto to each woman applicant with 25 per cent subsidy for the vehicle coming from the central government scheme.”
As quoted in the TOI report, Gayatri Jariwala, the assistant commissioner in-charge of the Urban Community Development Department of SMC, said, “We have a batch of 70 women and 15 are ready to begin work. They have driving licence and we also helped them to get work from schools in the area. We have concentrated on girls’ schools and girl students for women drivers.”
“They can easily pay their monthly instalment to the bank and also save enough money. We everyday read about harassment of women commuters in different cities. This is why we thought of this service which not only provides employment to women but ensures safe travel for female passengers,” Jariwala added.
The 15 women beginning work presently is expected to earn a minimum amount of Rs 18,000 per month by ferrying schoolchildren and passengers in the city.