ALAPPUZHA: She is the first ‘boat master’ in the country who has forayed into a man’s profession. The minimum qualification required for the job prescribed by the Public Service Commission is SSLC, but S. Sindhu, 41, is MA in Hindi with B. Ed. Moreover, she is a mother of two children.
Sindhu from North Aryad here had dreamt of becoming a teacher and written 20 examinations for a government job. But she secured the fourth place in the boat master examination conducted by the PSC in 2010 and was selected as a boat master under the state water transport department (SWTD) on April 28, 2016 along with 21 men.
She had secured both boat master licence issued by the port department under inland vessel rules 2010 and the old canal licence.
Presently she works from 10.30 a.m. till 7.40 p.m. on the boat that plies in the 8-km Muhamma -- Kumarakom route in the Vembanad lake carrying hundreds of passengers. Clad in khaki churidar and waist-length overcoat, she is at ease issuing tickets from an electronic ticket machine.
“When I was issued the identity card, our senior official told me that I deserved the identity card of a ‘boat mistress,’ but the SWTD has created no such a post so far. I love to be called a boat mistress,” she said.
“I know swimming and can help in an emergency,” she added. She is also in charge of two lascars and one syrank.
She received one-week training from the port department before joining. While she gets a salary of Rs 21,000 per month, the daily collection of the boat is at least Rs 5,000 per day.
Her grandfather Ramachandran was doing the same job in a private ferryboat for over two decades at Mannancherry area. She was also encouraged by her husband, Pramod, a senior clerk with the irrigation department in Thanneermukkom. They have two daughters, Avanthika and Anamika.