In front of top official, woman trucker reveals graft ordeal

NEW DELHI: It took India’s first woman truck driver to show exemplary courage and lay bare the corruption and harassments that

drivers

face on road in the presence of a top central

government official

in charge of

logistics

. She feels as if “RTOs don’t get paid by the government and run their households with income from drivers”.
Yogita Raghuvanshi, who became the first woman truck driver after getting a licence to drive heavy vehicles in 2006, was speaking at the launch of Highway Heroes by a major transporters organisation, AITWA, in the presence of special secretary (logistics)

Sumita Dawra

.
“RTOs are out on our roads only to harass drivers even after checkposts have been removed. Drivers wait for hours hoping to start after the RTOs go from the spots. That’s because we know they are there only to harass us and take money. Why do we need RTOs now when the government has abolished checkposts and all details and payments made to the government are available online?” she said. Her remark received huge applause from drivers and transporters.
Speaking to TOI on the sidelines of the event where she was felicitated, Yogita said she got the licence for driving heavy vehicles in her first attempt. Earlier, she had a two-wheeler licence. “I needed to earn more for my children. I was looking for options when my journey as truck driver started. In the first one week I earned Rs 2,000. So, I thought if I worked for a month, I could earn Rs 8,000. I was getting Rs 3,000 a month in my earlier job,” she said.

Yogita started her first assignment in a truck owned by an advocate who was known to her husband. The trip was from Bhopal to Hyderabad, and she covered this 1,100 km in three days.
Now, Yogita owns a 10-wheeled truck offered by an automobile major for being India’s first woman truck driver. “I now run my truck in the open market. I decide the trips… and in one long trip, I save Rs 30,000,” she said.
On the ordeals on roads, Yogita recalled her recent trip to Meghalaya. “There is no border (checkpost) in Bihar. But I saw a man in uniform taking money from drivers. I clicked his photo and asked why he was there when the checkposts had been removed. He asked me to show my papers and threatened that he would show me how the checking by RTOs has been done away with. They simply harass people if someone does not pay,” she asked.

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