West Bengal will soon join the elite club of states of women taxi drivers as the government here has taken up a project to provide training to women, generally drawn from the lower strata of society, in driving.
The project is being jointly coordinated by an NGO and the state government's Woman and Child Development and Social Welfare department, according to the minister of Woman and Child Development and Social Welfare department, Shashi Panja.
The project envisages giving training to women above 18 years of age, generally drawn from the lower strata of society, in driving and road safety measures.
"A few women have been selected for the purpose," the minister said, adding the training was being provided by NGO 'Azad foundation' and the educational qualification has been fixed at either eighth standard or matriculation.
"There has been a growing demand for women drivers. In other states there are women drivers, but in our state the concept is yet to catch on. Of late, there is an increase in demand for women cab drivers in the state," Panja said.
According to Panja, the training is being provided by an NGO Azad foundation.
The minister said the government would get in touch with private cab service companies like Ola and Uber to hire trained women drivers.
Asked what steps the state government has planned to take for safety and security of the women drivers once they hit the roads, Panja said, "They are being provided with unarmed combat training by the instructors of Kolkata police. So that they can take care of their own safety and security."