By Vishal Gulati
Shimla, Jun 7 (IANS): Breaking stereotype barriers and empowering the fair sex at workplace, state-run Himachal Road Transport Corp (HRTC) driver Seema Thakur, the first and only woman driver in the fleet of 2,773 buses, has become the first woman on the wheel to drive on some of the toughest and long inter-state motorable roads.
Believing the women have multiple roles in society, she drove the HRTC's luxury to and fro bus from Rohru to Delhi via Shimla, a distance of 500 km with the travel time of over 12 hours.
As a trendsetter in a man's world, local residents and politicians of Theog, Jubbal, Kotkhai and Rohru towns honoured Seema Thakur, who joined the HRTC as a driver on May 5, 2016, while she was on the wheel.
An elated Seema Thakur told IANS: "It is really a marvellous experience to drive on an inter-state bus and that is of longer duration. I am the only first woman bus driver in the region."
"I will continue to serve the people of Himachal Pradesh," she added.
Earlier, Seema Thakur was the only woman driver among the nearly 9,000 HRTC employees who drove on the Shimla-Chandigarh route and became the first woman driver on an interstate route.
She believes gender equal leadership will lead to a more inclusive and effective society. "With my new responsibility, now more and more women will come forward to work with HRTC's buses and cabs."
Earlier, her work as Covid-19 warrior was recognised by the Government of India for helping people.
Her father was also in the state Transport Department and she took over his duties after he died.
"For Himachal, Seema Thakur is proud. We feel safe while travelling a long distance with her even during night," remarked an elderly passenger Kanta Negi.
Describing Seema Thakur's feat a source of inspiration for women and a step towards women empowerment, apple grower-turned-politician Chetan Bragta, who honoured her by donning a Himachali cap and offering a woollen shawl along with other, remarked that it was for the first time that a woman bus driver of the state reached Rohru from Delhi by taking a Volvo bus.
"I am happy to honour HRTC driver Seema Thakur of Arki area of Solan district for this achievement," Chetan Bragta remarked.
Chetan is the son of two-time BJP minister, Narinder Bragta, a prominent apple grower who died on June 5, 2021, due to post-Covid complications.