Indian airports get their first woman firefighter
The last all-male bastion of Indian aviation has fallen with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) appointing its first ever woman firefighter. The state-run authority currently has 3,310 firefighters at its airports as having fire service is a mandatory condition for planes to land anywhere.
The Times of India reports , Now, Kolkata girl Taniya Sanyal will, in a month, join their ranks after completing training that she is undergoing in the city. Considered a profession only for men, AAI till recently did not have recruitment norms for women firefighters.
“We were facing a shortage of firefighters due to expansion and new airports coming up. We brought in contemporary rules and decided to recruit women in this field which required criteria for physical standards. I had done similar rule changes in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation for firefighters. We got hold of them and then set the standards for recruiting women firefighters. This is the first time a woman has joined our ranks in this field and it will continue now,” AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra, who brought about this change, told TOI.
The physical standards for male firefighters were having a minimum height of about 1.6 metres and at least weigh 50 kg. The minimum weight for women firefighters was set at 40 kg and height norms were also reduced. While relaxing the norms, the work description for woman firefighters has been kept exactly the same.
Taniya Sanyal, who has done masters in Botany, has been appointed for AAI’s eastern region airports that include Kolkata, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Gaya and Ranchi. Once she completes her training at Kolkata firefighting centre, she will be working at one of these airports.
An elated Sanyal said: “It is a matter of pride and great honour for me. I always wanted to do something challenging. Firefighting is a very noble calling.” Asked if her family supported her when she wanted to take up this job, she said “everyone supported me”.