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Deepa Bhandare Makes History As First Female To Receive VSI Award


Deepa Bhandare, associated with Shri Datta Cooperative Sugar Factory (SSK) in Shirol taluka of Kolhapur, emerged as a trailblazer as she clinched the prestigious Best Environment Officer Award at the ceremony. The award, conferred by VSI Chairman Sharad Pawar, marks a historic moment as Bhandare becomes the only woman in the long and illustrious history of Maharashtra’s sugar industry to receive this accolade.

Each year, the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) honors exceptional performance by sugar factories, employees, and farmers in Maharashtra with Awards of Excellence.

A Journey of Resilience and Adaptability

  • Bhandare, armed with a master’s degree in environmental sciences, hails from Sangli and found herself thrust into the sugar industry under tragic circumstances.
  • Following her husband’s untimely demise three years ago, she embraced the opportunity presented to her when offered a position at the sugar mill.
  • Having previously worked as an environmental consultant, Bhandare had experience in technical aspects of the sugar industry, but taking on a role within the industry itself was a new endeavor for her.

Pioneering Change: A Woman in a Male-Dominated Industry

  • In a sector predominantly dominated by men, Bhandare stands out as a rare woman in the technical staff of Maharashtra’s sugar industry.
  • The dearth of female representation, especially in leadership roles, has been a longstanding issue. Shalintai Patil and Pankaja Munde have been notable exceptions, breaking the glass ceiling, but their numbers remain limited.
  • Bhandare’s achievement serves as an inspiration, highlighting the need for more women to consider careers in this traditionally male-dominated sector.

Beyond the Norms: Building a More Inclusive Environment

  • Upon joining the sugar industry, one of Bhandare’s initial actions was a testament to her commitment to inclusivity. Recognizing the lack of facilities for women, she spearheaded the construction of a ladies’ washroom at the sugar mill.
  • Bhandare emphasizes the importance of accommodating more women in the industry and believes that the sector is open to embracing diversity.

Encouraging More Women to Join the Sugar Industry

  • Bhandare, reflecting on her journey, encourages more women to consider careers in the sugar industry.
  • With her academic background, including an MBA, and hands-on experience, she believes that women can bring valuable perspectives to the sector.
  • As the sugar industry in Maharashtra takes a step towards inclusivity, Bhandare envisions a future where more women actively contribute to the growth and development of the industry.

Important Questions Related to Exams

Q1. What award did Deepa Bhandare recently win at VSI?

Q2. Which cooperative sugar factory is Deepa Bhandare associated with?

Q3. In which taluka is Shri Datta Cooperative Sugar Factory located?

Kindly share your responses in the comment section.

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