Nagpur: Storming the male stronghold of auto technicians, Hemlata Kolhe (24) and her cousin Ratnakala (23) – from the Maoist-sensitive village of Katezhari in Dhanora taluka in northern Gadchiroli – landed jobs in a Pun based leading four wheeler parts manufacturing company.
Hemlata, Ratnakala and others received month-long training by an agency through the police department. They were taken to Ralegaon in Yavatmal for training. After finishing, the youths were absorbed into the automotive business with an initial payment of Rs 11,000-12,000. About six women from different villages in Gadchiroli are now colleagues in the car business.
In the village of Katezhari, where life is staggering in the uncertainty of clashes between the police and the Maoists which have turned it into a combat zone, women rarely step out of the shadow of their families. There is round-the-clock indirect pressure from the police and the Maoists for their support and association. Several women in the village have previously taken up arms and joined the rebel movement.
Having studied up to Standard XII in ashramshalas far from Gadchiroli, the Kolhe sisters were almost ready to surrender to their fate in the tribal district and join their family members on farms outside the village, when the life took a turn.
A call from the local police station near Katezari informed them of the training and placement program, transporting them from their remote village to the progressive west of Maharashtra.
“Now we can earn and help our family back home,” Hemlata said, adding that she enjoys her job as a technician in the four-wheel gear manufacturing unit. “We hope our lives will gradually change for the better,” she said.
Police Commissioner (SP) Ankit Goyal said around 3,400 Gadchiroli youths, including a significant number of women, had been helped to hone their skills for self-employment or sent for training and placed as the Kolhes. Goyal said: “Through the police’s ‘Dadalora khidki’ program, many young people have found their dreams. We have used many agencies to train and place young people for free in various companies. »
The SP added that women joining the automotive industry through their program was unprecedented. “We have helped several women get jobs in the hospitality and healthcare industry as auxiliary nurses. Some also took beautician courses,” he said.
Ratnakala said she will encourage other women in her village to take the training, adding, “I hope more women will follow in our footsteps and transform their lives.”