Ladakh’s only LPG bottling plant has an all-women crew and employs around 12 women employees. These LPG cylinders are supplied to the Indian Army. These women ensure that 50,000 Indian soldiers facing the freezing temperatures at the international border get sufficient cooked food.
As snow covers the region and completely blocks off all the connectivity with rest of the country, the Indian Oil plant remains the only source of cooking gas for the Army personnel. About 40 per cent of all the refills which are produced at the plant are used by the army.
This plant is the country’s only LPG unit which is wholly managed by women. Female members have the responsibility to check the quality of seals from the production line and ensure security. Only the loading tasks which involve heavy lifting are handled by five men.
Most of the women who manage this plant are in their 20s and 40s. They also have to manage their families along with working at the plant. Tsering Angmo who works there says that she has to wake up early as she also has to ready her son. She has to take the bus for her morning shift which starts at 9 am.
Sujoy Choudhury, Executive Director at Indian Oil’s Punjab state office applauded the women crew and said that it exemplifies the power of women.
Rigzin Lado, another crew member, has to travel 35 km to reach the plant. She says that even though she has to face difficulties in commuting but still she likes her job.
Padma Tsogyal, recalls that early before joining, she was even unaware of how to fix a regulator to a cylinder. Now, she has the responsibility to ensure safety for each refill that is distributed among consumers. She believes that it is her contribution to the nation and the army. Cylinders which are sent to the defence establishment are double-checked to ensure safety.
Security officer Angmo believes that in general, women are more diligent and careful about safety which makes it “easier” for women employees to make sure that safety parameters are met at the LPG plant.