Kolkata, June 21 (IANS) India’s first female truck driver Yogita Raghuvanshi says her colleagues must learn to prioritise their health and expenses, rather than involving themselves solely in their fight for wages and rights.
“If the wages of truck drivers are less, how do they manage to spend almost Rs 50 in buying liquor pouches? Saving this amount, they can buy a home and fund their children’s education, they must learn how to control the expenses,” Yogita said on Thursday.
She was being felicitated here during the ‘National Conclave on challenges and future of Indian Truck drivers’ organised by a city-based social service organisation, Seva Kendra Calcutta.
The mother of two started driving a ten-wheeler multi-axle truck after her husband passed away in a road accident in 2003.
She feels her story is nothing extraordinary and it is just like learning how to walk. Falling and getting up has been a part of the journey in the life of the Bhopal-based female trailblazer.
Her determination makes her far sturdier than the muscle power of a man and she advises the truck drivers to look after their health.
“Why don’t they purchase six eggs instead of drinking? The health issue will be solved instantly if they take multivitamins on their own,” Raghuvanshi raised the point from her 14 years’ experience in the profession.
“A driver must think about the security and well-being before starting a family.”
Raghuvanshi told IANS: “For me, there were no challenges; I don’t know the definition of ‘difficult’. It is my profession and life is as easy as anybody else’s and even if there is a breakdown it is a part of my business.”
Her husband was an advocate and had a transport business with three trucks. Being a housewife, she never thought she would need to work. She hired a driver and a helper for the business after her husband passed away.
Driving the truck by herself fetched her immediate income.
“I had done LLB but working as a junior lawyer, I did not get enough income. I knew dress designing. So I joined a boutique but the income was not enough to meet the education expense of my children,” she said.
With no knowledge about driving, and terming the gear as a “rod”, she began her journey on the road and says that things can be learned gradually.
“A mother can do anything. So I have taken driving truck as my sole profession as it was profitable. I had taught my children to take care of their health and be independent,” she said.
Raghuvanshi is undeterred by the hardships of being on road, spending long hours, loading and unloading the freight, going without a bath and so on.
Asked if she ever faced any safety risk, she said: “I know a bit of Karate but never required it. It is not necessary to show off before the public that a woman is behind the wheels, and it’s better to dress up like men which is also convenient for work.”