Er. Annie Sinha Roy is a proud woman. Working in a male-dominated realm, she is least bothered about what’s to come tomorrow. Precisely because being India’s first and only woman tunnel engineer, she has played a monumental role in the Bengaluru Metro Project.
Annie has helped develop the 4.8 km east-west underground track of Namma Bangalore – the country’s first underground metro line in southern India – that will run from Cubbon Road to Vidhana Soudha.
Annie, who hails from a middle-class family in North Kolkata, wanted to earn a post graduation degree after studying Mechanical Engineering from Nagpur University. However, things turned out differently after her father passed away. She got a job to help with her family’s financial crunch which led to her joining Senbo, a contractor company with Delhi Metro in 2007.
On her first day of the job, Annie heard someone say: “she must be a visitor.”
Recalling one of her first experiences as a tunnel engineer, Annie said, “After a couple of hours, I was standing in front of a huge machine that had to break the ground but it was stuck. A German engineer and my boss asked me to get inside it and open a nut. Even before I realized what I was doing, my face was gushed by hydraulic oil. The colleague said my face would glow for the rest of my life. Today tunnelling is my life.”
It was in 2009 when she took up work with Chennai Metro, after which she flew to Doha in 2014 for six months. She started working with Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) in 2015 as assistant manager.
In BMRC, Annie single-handedly steered Godavari – the tunnel-boring machine that recently finished carving out the underground track from Sampige Road to Majestic. She called it her tunnel because the moment she hopped on board, the machine got damaged.
After that moment, Annie started spending eight hours in the tunnel every day.
“Sometimes when people see me with the helmet and jacket and learn that I work for Namma Metro, they would only ask when the work will get over,” added Annie.
When asked what message she had for all the women out there, Annie said, “I want women to drive a tunnel boring machine. I want them to work in the tunnel.”