'Do You Have License?' IAS Officer Driving Volvo to Encourage Women Drivers Divides Internet
IAS Officer and BMTC Managing Director C Shikha driving a bus in Bengaluru | Image credit: Screengrab/Twitter
Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) managing director C Shikha is facing flak after she drove a BMTC bus without having the appropriate licence for it.
Shikha drove a Volvo bus at the Hoskote Volvo driving training centre to send a strong message about women empowerment. The reason behind the stunt was to encourage more women staffers driving and managing public transport.
This is the the first time that an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer took to the wheel to inspect a bus, the Times of India reported. The move inspired many including BMTC staff who cheered as the woman took to the wheel on Tuesday. She was also accompanied by several senior officials of BMTC.
#Bengaluru: #BMTC managing director C Shikha drives a Volvo bus on a test-track at the bus training centre. @TOIBengaluru @BBPVedike @dipika_bajpai @IASassociation @Ratnaprabha_IAS @silk_board @MarathahalliBrg @WFRising @sandeeprrao1991 @mathangcito @BalooET pic.twitter.com/umZIoAQHUF— Rakesh Prakash (@rakeshprakash1) January 14, 2020
The video of the MD driving the bus was shared on social media and instantly went viral. Many praised her for being an inspiration to women drivers in Karnataka.
Wowww super madam 👏🏻🎉This brings strength and confidence to all the women !!!“Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path and leave a trial”— Dhanush Reddy (@dhanushreddy91) January 14, 2020
Yes this is the power of a woman. Yes the perfect driver of the constitution. Congratulations.— PERFECT WORK (@Lakshmeeshsagar) January 14, 2020
This is awesome, a lady who truly means bringing in the change!— Shilpa Rao (@shilgiri_rao) January 14, 2020
While the move was meant to bolster women empowerment, however, the video seemed to enrage some who complained that Shikha was driving without a heavy vehicle driving licence or the requisite permits.
Does she has Learners Licence and First aid certificate?— agsurendra (@agsurendra31) January 15, 2020
Nice ...hope she has a HMV license to even attempt this & compliant to the testing norms !— Anish Nair (@anishnair1010) January 14, 2020
Responding to the controversy, Shikha told the media that she was driving with the premises of a driving school and that she did not need a license for that, New Indian Express reported.
The flak also drew the attention of Indian National Congress (INC) MLA Priyank M. Kharge who took to Twitter to call out those trolling Shikha for their selective disdain.
"We are weird. We criticize BMTC MD for driving a bus in a driving school,but we hail politicos who drive buses jeopardizing lives. Not sure if MLA has HVD license. Even if he did, can he drive a Govt bus?Will Govt book a case?" he asked.
We are weird. We criticize BMTC MD for driving a bus in a driving school,but we hail politicos who drive buses jeopardizing lives. Not sure if MLA has HVD license. Even if he did,can he drive a Govt bus?Will Govt book a case?@NewIndianXpress https://t.co/dspfqKdeuK— Priyank Kharge / ಪ್ರಿಯಾಂಕ್ ಖರ್ಗೆ (@PriyankKharge) January 15, 2020
BMTC employs about 14,000 drivers and yet has only one woman driver.