Chitra Swaroop, the first woman Engineer-in-Chief of Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department, was also the first woman to head the PWD of any state in the country. Swaroop who was given the charge of Engineer-in-Chief (Development) and HoD, was Engineer-in-Chief (Rural Roads) for eight months in PWD.
Swaroop says she went in for civil engineering as it was the wish of her father, the late S.K. Verma, who was a civil engineer with Aligarh Muslim University.
In 1971, Chitra Swaroop joined B.Sc (Civil Engineering) course at Aligarh Muslim University after passing her higher secondary. Swaroop was the only girl in her class at AMU. Though while doing her civil engineering course at AMU, she had planned to become a teacher, it never happened as her mother did not let her go to IIT, Roorkee, to pursue M. Tech.
In 1977, she joined as assistant engineer in the Irrigation Department of UP, where she worked in the bridge designing section. After working for three years in irrigation, she joined the PWD in 1980 as assistant engineer in the building designing section. Her first major project was the construction of a sales tax office in Ghaziabad in 1980s.
Swaroop, in her three-decade career with PWD, has worked in Meerut, Agra and Gorakhpur zones. Her important projects were construction of Meerut-Bulandshahr, Meerut-Garh, and Meerut-Muzaffarnagar highways which were World Bank aided projects.
More than 40 years—through classrooms and workplaces almost without any woman colleague—Swaroop has made history by becoming the first woman Engineer-in-Chief of the Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department at the age of 57.