Saturday, March 07, 2009

First Sikkimese woman taxi driver happy to be at par with men


GANGTOK, March 6: Driving along the busy streets of Gangtok, Sikkim’s first woman taxi driver today said she was happy to be at par with men, who have been dominating the profession so far.
A 44-year-old Dawa Phutti Bhutia hailing from Pangthang in East Sikkim has earned the rare feat of becoming the first woman taxi driver in the State.
Daughter of Ugyen Dorjee Lepcha and Late Phungchung Lepcha, Ms. Bhutia has debuted taxi driving on March 3.
“It has been for more than a year since the State Government had approved woman taxi drivers in the State but sadly no woman came forward to take advantage of this great opportunity. So I took the initiative, which I am sure will serve as an encouragement to other Sikkimese women to come forward and take up this profession,” the owner of SK 04-8670 says with a smile.
Asked as how she felt driving taxi, she said, “It gives me a feeling of satisfaction, satisfaction of being at par with men.”
Mother of two sons and a daughter, Ms Bhutia, has no oppostion from the family and had acquired her taxi driving license a year back from the Motor Vehicles Division, Gangtok. “My husband and children have been really supportive in my decision,” she said.
Stating that her decision to be a taxi driver was neither a publicity stunt nor an attempt to earn large amount of money, she said it was only to encourage women into the profession.
Presently, she plies her taxi from Pangthang to Gangtok. “I will soon request the State Government to provide a taxi stand for vehicles plying to Pangthang,” she added.
Ms Bhutia, who has passed Class X, has also plans to organise driving training to 10 women at Lingdok.