In Maoist-infested Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, the first organised public transport system is an all-woman preserve. The Danteshwari electric autorickshaws service, launched in the district in October, aims to provide connectivity from nearby villages to Dantewada town, helping women access marketplaces, enhance income and, in a way, also fight Naxalism.
The service has been provided to women self-help groups, with the government financing 80 percent of the cost, the remaining 20 percent being paid by the beneficiaries. The district mineral fund is to be used to finance the project. The autos can be driven only by women. The drivers wear uniforms, have GPS-enabled phones and earn Rs 300-400 per day.
The district administration feels that in case Maoists burn these autos, it would turn local people against them as people have invested money in it.