S Vishnu Sharmaa, INN/Chennai, @infodeaofficial
The beach area near Indian Coast Guard’s eastern region headquarters turned the most memorable spot in Chennai on March 8 as it joined the rest of the world in paying tributes to the grand spirit of womanhood.
Even as the hovercraft of eastern region arrived on the shore, crowds went ahead to greet the crew of the air cushion vehicle commanded by a woman official. Deputy Commandant Anuradha Shukla stepped out to receive a warm welcome. Her proud colleague Deputy Commandant Shirin Chandran too got a warm reception.
Anuradha has become the first woman captain of a hovercraft in eastern region of Indian Coast Guard. Another special point with regards to these two woman officials of is that Indian Coast Guard’s eastern region is that they are among the first four women officers who were trained on air cushion vehicles (ACVs, hovercraft) in 2017. This is a part of the measures taken up by Indian Coast Guard to empower women, said Coast Guard (eastern region) commander Inspector General S Paramesh.
He interacted with media personnel later after welcoming the women personnel. The special interaction was organised by Indian Coast Guard with the women officers to mark International Women’s Day. We took a major step towards giving greater roles and responsibilities to women personnel in our organisation.
Coast Guard became the first force to deploy women officers in operational roles onboard its ships that patrol our nation’s maritime areas. Now we moved a step ahead and went and trained our women personnel to enable them to work on hovercraft, he said.
It is common for women who join Coast Guard to work in the administration department, said Anuradha who journeyed all the way from Mandapam to Chennai on the air cushion vehicle. But a strong desire to prove her mettle in the operational front by venturing into the sea made her go for training on operating a hovercraft.
We were told that Coast Guard was selecting personnel to train them on a hovercraft and we did not wait even for a moment to apply, said Shirin. The training lasted for six months. The journey from Mandapam to Chennai on a hovercraft was not easy, we had to move through the rough patches of the sea. But what gave them the confidence was the training they had, said both the personnel.
The challenges are the same, men or women, both have to undergo the same ordeal while on duty, echoed both officers in chorus. Since the ordeals are the same, differences should not be seen while allotting tasks, said the women personnel.