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Exclusive talk with Sireesha Gajani who made nation proud; the lady praised by PM Modi himself

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Hubballi: Gajani Intiperu India Mottam Vinelaga Chesinavamma (You made Gajani surname popular all over India) this is the compliment Sireesha, South Western Railway Bengaluru Division’s loco pilot receiving from her relatives, family members, friends and colleagues.

Sireesha Gajani was in the news for steering the Oxygen Express train from Jolarpettai Junction to Inland Container Depot in Whitefield.

She was the loco pilot for the seventh Oxygen Express train of SWR;, the railways running Oxygen Express trains in the Covid pandemic to supply liquid medical oxygen to various parts of the country to mitigate the scarcity of oxygen the hospitals are facing to treat seriously ill Covid patients.

The women crew, that drew the attention of the nation, steered one such Oxygen Express train. And Sireesha was the lady who drove that train from Jolarpettai Junction to ICD in Whitefield.

For her rare opportunity of driving the special train, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had an interaction with her on his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat Sireesha made headlines.

The Prime Minister praised Sireesha and her efforts in his two minutes long conversion.

Sireesha in an exclusive talk with narrated her journey of steering the Oxygen Express and shared the experience of having a conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat programme.

She said that she came to know that she will drive the seventh Oxygen Express train and her loco inspector informed her about this. On May 21, after a change of crew at Jolarpettai Junction, she took the charge of driving the train.

She said it was the lightly loaded train compared to the regular loaded train which she used to drive. Special instructions and procedures to follow were all explained to her. She said SWR had taken all the responsibility, and she was just one among the many shouldering the responsibility and she thanked SWR for providing her with an opportunity to be a part of once in a lifetime occasion.


At one point in time, she drove the train at the maximum speed of 100 KMPH and the train covered the distance of 125 KM in just 90 minutes shattering the record of the Shatabdi Express train and this train carrying Liquid Medical Oxygen became the fastest train in the SWR section to reach the destination. The average speed of the train was 83.3 KMPH, said Sireesha.

SHOCKED TO KNOW THAT PM WILL INTERACT WITH ME: “On May 26, I drove another Oxygen Express, that was the 14th Oxygen Express train. And I got information that Prime Minister Modi will interact with me on his Mann Ki Baat programme. Hearing that news I was shocked, and it took some time for me to realize that it was true.”

PREPARED TO SPEAK IN ENGLISH, BUT MANAGED IN HINDI AS WELL:  “ I was preparing to speak in English with the prime minister, but at the last moment they informed me that the PM will interact in Hindi. For the conversation, I went to AIR Bengaluru station, and I was nervous as I did not know what to speak with him, but I spoke with the PM initially in Hindi then in English. It was a memorable moment,” told Sireesha.

 Born and brought up in Vishakhapatnam, Sireesha is an engineering graduate. Being younger in the family, she got more love and affection from her parents.

Sireesha told that she joined as an assistant loco pilot in South Central Railway in Vijayawada in the year 2013 and later she transferred to South Western Railway, In December 2020 she become a loco pilot since then she steered many goods trains.


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