Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) had employed 23 members of the transgender community. The initiative taken by Kochi Metro had given it worldwide publicity and garnered it much praise.
The employees were trained for a month, which includes spoken English and computer classes and work behind ticket counters, housekeeping, maintenance and parking management, etc.
All the workers have been trained in soft and technical skills and also imparted lessons in safety. Their appointment was made after a written test and an interview conducted jointly by the KMRL and Kudumbashree. Around 41,000 candidates appeared for the test.
But now, according to Livemint, after the Metro’s launch, many of the employees are finding it difficult to find accommodation as hardly any landlord is willing to rent their flats to transgenders.
Ragaranjini, one of the hires, welcomed the move and said, “Even those of us who have been thinking of quitting the job are planning to stay back now.”
Few among the hired also added that to fulfil the needs they had to go begging or seeking sex work.
The monthly income of the ticketing staff was Rs 10,000 while Rs 9,000 will be paid to the housekeeping staff.
However, the hired employees claim that this amount will not be enough for them to end their meets and accommodation in particular. Some of them had failed to turn up for work because they could not afford accommodation in Kochi.
Some of them had to pay a steep price of about Rs 600 per day for a room on a terrace because people were unwilling to rent their flats/rooms to them.
As quoted by Firstpost, Amruta, an appointee in the housekeeping department, had taken an extended leave of three days after she joined the service as she has not been able to find a place to sleep. She is now paying Rs 400 per day to in a lodge at Ernakulam South, which is 19 km distant from Aluva.
“I cannot afford this as the KMRL is giving us only Rs 9400 per month as salary. I am unable to take up any part-time job to supplement my income as my shift keeps changing every week,” says Amruta, who lived with her mother in a rented house in a village on the outskirts of the city hiding her real identity before she was appointed in the KMRL.
Some of the transgender employees who are still sticking on with the job are also finding it quite hard to continue due to the lack of accommodation.
The Minister for Local Self-Government KT Jaleel, on Saturday, June 24, assured help for their housing. He has talked to the metro authorities to chalk out a plan to help the hires.
“We have decided to hold a meeting tomorrow (Monday). A private party has offered accommodation. Some facility can also be provided for their transportation,” said Elias George, managing director of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd, the agency tasked with building the metro.
The Logical Indian welcomes Kochi Metro’s move to uplift the status of transgenders in our society. The community has been subject to immense discrimination and it was essential that steps are taken to change people’s reservation about them.The concerned authorities are also requested to provide the hired transgenders accommodation so that they will not be subjected to discrimination.
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