A 27-year-old woman from the Maoist-affected Malkangiri district of Odisha is the first woman from the state's tribal community to become a commercial pilot.
Anupriya Madhumita Lakra, daughter of a police constable in Malkangiri, is set to join the Indigo Airlines as a co-pilot later in September.
Anupriya's parents told Hindustan Times that they were elated that their daughter was getting to fulfil her lifelong dreams despite financial difficulties. Her father, Mariniyas Lakra, said, "“Though it was difficult for me to fund her pilot training, I took loans and got help from relatives. I always ensured that my daughter gets an education in the field she wanted to."
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik too took to social media to congratulate Anupriya.“I am happy with her achievement. She will be a role model for several girls,” said Patnaik.
Anupriya was born and brought up in Malkangiri, where she completed her matriculation from a missionary school. She went to the neighbouring Koraput district to finish her higher secondary. Later, she went onto joining a government-run engineering college in Bhubaneshwar but realised after a few months of classes that her true calling was flying a plane. She left the engineering college and joined the Government Aviation Training Institute (GATI), Bhubaneshwar.