"We have provided learning licence to 18 more women to work as autorickshaw drivers in Patna," Dinesh Kumar Rai, a district official, said adding that the Bihar State Autorickshaw Drivers' Association (BSADA) would arrange training for more women drivers in the first week of September.

In a rare first for Bihar, the first batch of 15 women autorickshaw drivers started operating the commercial vehicle in the state capital on August 17, officials said. Rajkumar Jha, BSADA general secretary, said that they trained the first batch of women autorickshaw drivers and helped them get bank loans for vehicles. "All of them started their new career as autorickshaw drivers with learners' licences. They would be issued permanent licences soon," he said.

Rajkumar Jha also said that a private bank has provided a loan between Rs 1.5-2 lakh to each trainee to by the vehicle. The women put in only Rs 10,000-20,000 each.

Every month, they will have to pay between Rs 3,000-4,000 towards repayment of the loan. The women drivers have initially been assigned to work on pre-paid basis from Patna Junction, Gandhi Maidan and few other places.

 (Agencies)

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