City anchor: BMC ‘bay watch call’ to women goes unheeded

The civic administration's ill luck in recruiting women seems to continue. Following a poor response to its drive to recruit women as firefighters, BMC's attempt to hire them as lifeguards, too, has gone in vain. While 165 men applied for the posts of 11 lifeguards on six beaches, not a single woman applied.

BMC, to encourage women to take up careers like lifeguards and firefighters, had reserved posts for them last year. However, only one woman had applied for the post of lifeguard. This year, BMC decided to keep it open for men as well as women, said a fire official.

P S Rahangdale, deputy chief fire officer, said, "We had advertised for the post but did not get a single application from women. Last year, too, we received a dull response. The only woman who applied did not meet the physical requirements," he said. Of the men who applied this year, 51 have qualified for the next round.

The state made it a policy to reserve 33 per cent posts for women in civic administration. However, these posts are contractual in nature, which means the reservation is not compulsory, said a senior fire official.

"The final physical tests include a 200 metre run-200 metre swim-200 metre run, which is to be completed in 15 minutes. Physical requirements are also stringent," said Rahangdale.

"The idea to recruit women lifeguards seemed ideal as they will be a big help in rescuing women and girls, said the fire official.

Last month, while 1,150 men applied for 91 vacant posts for male firefighters, only 50 women applied for 38 posts of women firefighters. Finally, only six women qualifed.

Meanwhile, BMC is planning to recruit 36 more lifeguards during monsoon. The fire brigade will deploy boys from local koliwadas or fishermen's colonies as lifeguards, said Rahangdale.

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