Chinta Mani Poudel

Chitwan, January 18

Women tempo drivers in Chitwan are facing a hard time due to the negligence of the municipality to provide them with employment opportunities, despite having been provided training by the municipality earlier.

Ram Shree Tamang, 50, has struggled to live throughout her life. She became a tempo driver two years ago, but now she does not have a tempo.

There are 12 other women like Ram Shree, who took training under the Women Empowerment Campaign (WEC) conducted by the municipality. They deposited Rs 25,000 with the municipality as a security bond. Five out of the 12 received electric Safa tempos. However, these Safa tempos have now been returned to Kathmandu as

the Chitwan municipality was unable to afford their expenses, leaving Ram Shree and her colleagues unemployed once again.

The municipality introduced WEC two years back to make women financially independent. However, improper coordination and management in the programme resulted in its failure.

Pragati Thakuri, Jamila Gurung, Sabitra Adhikari, Kumari Ghimire, Bishnu Adhikari, Pramila Adhikari, Rita Dhital, Phool Maya Thapa, Ambika Subedi, Krishna Maya Thapa and Mina Gurung are now unemployed. They were the first women drivers in the district and different felicitations were awarded to them, all of which have now gone in vain.

These women are facing various problems now. Pragati Thakuri, mother of a two-year-old, became a tempo

driver to rear her child. Her dream of making something for her child has been shattered when she had a road accident and the municipality confiscated her vehicle. Now, she does not have any hope for the municipality providing her with a tempo.

Rita Dhital joined this profession due to her poor economic condition and her failure in School Leaving Certificate (SLC). "I liked the profession and I even engaged my husband in the charging station, but all my hopes are ruined now," said Rita. She added that her husband has still not been paid for his work.

Jamila Gurung adopted this profession, inspired by her uncle and aunt. She seems happy for having learnt the skill but is sad for not being able to continue the job.

She no longer hopes that the municipality will provide her a tempo once again. They have been to the municipality time and again, hoping that they would be provided with tempos, but for they have not received anything.

"Tempos were sent back as they were expensive," said Anil Wagle,

social welfare executive in the Bharatpur municipality.

He claimed that it was better to return the tempos than to keep them. "The tempos were expensive and our budget could not afford it. We need cheaper

but stronger tempos," Wagle said adding, "Until diesel tempos are discarded, the problem of running Safa tempos would persist."

The municipality has returned the security amount. "We are informed of the problem," said Chet Bahadur Bhattarai, deputy mayor of municipality, "We are planning to raise the issue in the upcoming municipality meeting."