KPTCL all set to hire women as 'linemen'

KPTCL all set to hire women as 'linemen'

They will have to climb electricity poles in 7 attempts

The Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) is all set to hire women as assistant ‘linemen’, months after it agreed to comply with an order of the High Court in this regard.

It, however, said female candidates would be considered only if they climbed the electricity poles the way men could. 

The energy department will shortly hire linemen to maintain its power supply lines. In November, 2013, the KPTCL had told the High Court that it would abide by its order to hire women as ‘linemen’. The court was hearing the KPTCL’s appeal against its order dated February 29, 2012. 

“We told the court that we will abide by its order and hire women as linemen provided that they pass the endurance test the way men do,” a KPTCL official said on the condition of anonymity. “They will have seven attempts.” 

The KPTCL’s stand came as half victory to women graduating from its Industrial Training Centres (ITC). 

The women had gone to court after the KPTCL published a notification on December 12, 2011, restricting the posts to men. On February 29, 2012, Justice H N Nagamohan Das had rejected the KPTCL’s contention that women were “incapable” of doing the hazardous and laborious work of a lineman. The judge then set aside the said notification, calling it gender discriminatory, contrary to constitutional philosophy and the law as interpreted by the Supreme Court. 

The KPTCL had held several meetings before appealing against the order. “Male officials were adamant, saying women cannot be appointed to these posts. They claimed that women cannot climb poles, go on maternity leave, cannot work on night shift and so on,” informed a source in the energy department. 

The corporation went ahead with the appeal and cited the above reasons for restricting the posts to men. It also raised some security issues in this connection but Justice Das said, 

“The KPTCL says women workers cannot work during pregnancy, (that) it will affect the efficiency of the corporation and public interest. But it is needless to say that all women recruited as assistant linemen will not conceive at a time. Further, if one or two women are not capable of discharging the hazardous nature of work, it cannot be said that all women are incapable of doing such work. There is no evidence on record to show that women are incapable of working.”

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