Airport Authority of India recruits its first woman firefighter
Firefighting in Indian aviation is no longer a man's job alone. Airports Authority of India (AAI) has recruited its first female firefighter. Kolkata's Taniya Sanyal, who is training right now, will join duty in a month, reports Times of India. Notably, the AAI presently has 3,310 firefighters at its airports across India. Fire service is a mandatory requirement for aircraft landing. Here's more.
A postgraduate in Botany, Sanyal will be appointed for AAI's eastern-region airports such as Kolkata, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Gaya and Ranchi. Elated about her recruitment, she told TOI, "It's a matter of pride and great honor for me. I always wanted to do something challenging. Firefighting is a very noble calling." AAI on Twitter said she "sets an example of hard work and determination."
The AAI has only recently decided to start recruiting woman firefighters. Guruprasad Mohapatra, the AAI chairman behind this landmark change, told TOI, "We were facing a shortage of firefighters due to expansion/new airports. I had done similar rule changes in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation for firefighters. This is the first time a woman has joined our ranks in this field and it will continue now."
A male firefighter should be at least 1.6m tall and weigh 50kg. But for women, both the height and weight criteria have been relaxed. However, the job profile and professional responsibilities are the same for employees of both the genders.
Sanyal is the latest addition in the ever-growing list of women breaking the glass ceiling. Recently, Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian woman to ever fly a fighter aircraft solo. She rode the Russian-made MiG-21. Indian armed forces began recruiting women in streams other than medicine in 1992. The IAF's fighter stream was opened for women in October 2015.