Dhenkanal: Self-determination and courage to lead an independent and dignified life has been exemplified by this woman from Dhenkanal who is successfully running a passenger bus all alone, after her husband’s death.
Puspa Das today is managing her husband’s bus by herself, and has donned many hats in the process. She takes care of the finances, permit issues, fills in the shoes of staff in their absence and most importantly treats her employees as family.
The woman had to face many challenges following her husband’s death to run the only bus they owned. The vehicle had a permit to ferry passengers from Dhenkanal to Boinda but many bus owners pursued her to sell it off.
According to Das, she was subjected to threats, intimidation and discouragement to part with the bus and its permit. “I was the last person to give up and would advise all my sisters who are widowed, the same. Never give up and stand firmly against all odds.”
Amid COVID crisis and rising fuel prices, it has been very difficult to manage the business. But the Dash said she treats her employees as her family and to sustain the business was a major responsibility.
The driver of her bus, Anam Sahu echoed the same feelings. “Our owner takes care of us and has never failed in terms salary and other expenses. She treats us like a family. I have never faced any difficulty even after our owner passed away and she took over the business,” he said.
The passengers of the bus said they feel very good by seeing Dash giving away tickets. “She personifies women empowerment and independence. There is a lot to learn from her,” they said.