Kohima: The Nagaland Two Wheeler Taxi Association (NTWTA) headquartered in Kohima on Tuesday inducted the first woman rider into the profession.
The rider was officially flagged off at a short ceremony held near Raj Bhavan by popular biker Onen Nenty, who recently toured the state on her Royal Enfield Himalayan.
Nenty lauded the association for its creative initiative to create employment for the youths and for welcoming women bikers. Sharing her experience, Nenty encouraged the women riders to take the risk to do something new and urged all riders to learn and appreciate each other.
While Evulyn was officially inducted as a two-wheeler taxi rider on Tuesday, Viketou-u Khoubve and Peleneinuo Liezietsu, both of whom are currently training under the NTWTA, will soon join the profession.
In all, NTWTA has 170 registered members and has temporarily closed registration for male riders. It may be noted that wome riders will only be allowed to carry women passengers.
Sharing about how she chose the profession, 29-year-old Evulyn, who on Tuesday became the first-ever woman two-wheeler taxi rider in the state, told reporters, “My mum encouraged me to join this taxi association… Being the only girl riding as a two wheeler taxi driver is a very good opportunity and encouraging for me and other women as well…. To ride a taxi, we feel ashamed. At first I also felt uncomfortable. But waiting for a government job is not easy. Better to earn for yourself and do what is right for yourself, for everything is possible.”
“If we ride safe, nothing is danger for us,” added Evulyn.
Twenty-five-year-old Peleneinuo Liezietsu, who recently completed her B.Ed said, “I’ve been staying at home waiting to appear exams… I realised that if I’m going to wait I’m going to wait forever. So, instead of waiting for government jobs why not embark on a new journey for it’s never too late to start a new thing.”
Liezietsu is currently training under the association and wishes to join as a two-wheeler cabbie when she masters riding. She said: “I’m really excited. I don’t see many girls riding two wheelers or even cars… Societal stigma put us in the kitchen — we belong there and we do well in that — but I don’t think so… It’s really exciting to ride a two-wheeler.”
Another trainee, Viketou-u Khoubve, a post-graduate in education, who has been learning to ride the wheels for almost two weeks now, said: “After completing my degree, I couldn’t decide what to do [as] I was simply staying at home without any work. After learning about the two-wheeler association was going to appoint women riders, I was so excited since it has always been my childhood fantasy to ride a two-wheeler…. I’m still learning, but after completion, I will be joining.”
“In our society, there are less women coming up, breaking stereotype and working on the level of men. Through this I want to give a message to all the women that no matter what the job is, if men can do it why not we women do it too. It’s high time for women to come up and do the work that men can do,” said the 25-year-old rider.
Meanwhile, the NTWTA president said: “We are very much aware that we received approval note from the cabinet. On July 28, even though the concerned department did not issue the permit, we decided to resume our service because firstly, Kohima is moving faster than ever because of the availability of Scooty today for needs and necessity of the public . Secondly, this very profession is employing 170 youths in Kohima alone from different tribes, educational background and different ages. That is why, our survival and livelihood also matter in the second aspect . So keeping this in mind, we decided to roll out and we are waiting in anticipation of the RTO to start issuing the permit as immediate as possible because we also understand that we still don’t have the yellow registration numbers yet.”
On the decision to temporarily freeze male riders, he said, “We see that our infrastructure cannot accommodate as much as we may want to and at the same time since it is also a commercial profession. So, if the numbers increase too much, then it also means decrease in income for the riders. So, in a way, we are maintaining the quality of the service and at the same time, protecting the welfare of the riders who are doing the hard work”.
To encourage women riders, the association has so far made no bar on female rider registration. However, if adjustments and arrangements are made in parking zones, the association will recruit more riders.