Tsering Angmo from Leh commutes 20 km daily through the frozen landscape to work at Ladakh's only LPG bottling plant.
Angmo is a part of the 12 all-women crew that works at the plant from where LPG cylinders are supplied to the Indian Army. The all-women crew makes sure that the 50,000 Indian soldiers braving the freezing temperatures at the borders do not have work empty stomachs.
The Indian Oil plant is the only source of cooking gas for the Army personnel once snow-covered roads disrupt connectivity with the rest of the country. About 40 per cent of the refills produced at the plant go to the defence establishment.
The is the country's only LPG unit entirely run by women. From the production line functions to checking the quality of seals, and even managing security, everything is operated by women crew members. Only the loading tasks involving heavy lifting are handled by five men, reported The Times Of India.
Most of the women in the team are in their 20s and 40s who continue to juggle between managing the plant and their families. "I wake up early as I have to get my son ready before leaving. I can't afford to miss the bus to the plant where the shift starts at 9 am. If I miss the bus, getting transport to the plant can be difficult," says Tsering Angmo.
"The ease with which the ladies of our LPG plant deliver day in and day out, even in dead cold, exemplifies the power of women," says Sujoy Choudhury, Executive Director at Indian Oil's Punjab state office says.
Another crew member, Rigzin Lado from Karu from Leh, commutes 35 km to reach the plant, but she doesn't mind the distance and continues to work there happily.
Padma Tsogyal, hailing from Choglamsar recalls her early days and says that before joining, she did not even know how to fix a regulator (to a cylinder). Now, she feels that it is her responsibility to take complete care for each refill that goes out. She thinks that she is doing her bit for the country and the Army through her daily work.
She also says that the all women-led team double-checks the refills head for defence establishments as a mark of respect.
Security officer Angmo feels that women workers are more diligent and careful about safety which makes it "easier" to ensure that HSE (health safety and environment) parameters are met at the LPG plant.