M Sharmila (24) quit the job apparently over differences that cropped up with the bus owner after the conductor asked the DMK MP to get a ticket
M Sharmila (24), who rose to fame earlier this year after becoming Coimbatore’s first woman bus driver, quit her job shortly after Thoothukudi MP K Kanimozhi travelled on her bus on Friday.
Sharmila, who worked on a private bus plying between Gandhipuram and Somanur, was overjoyed as Kanimozhi travelled on her bus. She had earlier taken BJP leader and Coimbatore South MLA Vanathi Srinivasan on a trip.
“Generally when we say men and women are equal, people ask pointless questions like ‘can women drive a lorry or a bus?’. But today here you can see a woman doing that too. I feel happy to see women doing all kinds of roles and not just doctors or engineers. I had congratulated Sharmila over the phone earlier. She wished to meet me when I visit Coimbatore. So today I came and travelled on her bus. I appreciate her and extend my wishes,” the MP told reporters after travelling on the bus from Gandhipuram to Peelamedu.
The DMK leader presented her a gift and congratulated her for the work she was doing.
Annathai, the conductor of the bus, had asked the MP to get a ticket despite allegedly being told not to do so. According to Sharmila, when she raised the matter with the owner of the bus, he did not support her. She also said that Kanimozhi’s personal assistant had given her the money for six tickets.
“The owner said I am bringing famous people on board for my own popularity. I had informed the manager about Kanimozhi’s visit. But he told the owner that he was not aware of the visit. Despite my father trying to remind him about my having told him about the visit, the manager was in no mood to listen. In the heat of the moment, my father asked if he himself was a mad person to make things up. This angered the owner and he told us to leave the place. And I said I was quitting,” Sharmila said.
The bus owner and the woman conductor rejected Sharmila’s allegations. The owner said that after Sharmila complained to him about the act of the trainee conductor, he said he would inquire about the incident. But, he said, the driver was not ready to listen and she left. “I never told her to go. Even if she comes back, she can drive the bus,” he added.
The trainee conductor said that she had asked for the ticket as it was part of her job, adding that despite apologising for several times, Sharmila did not relent.