Kerala made headlines when it appointed 23 transgenders to work for the Kochi Metro. But it is a no secret that the employees started quitting when most turned a blind eye to the possible miseries the sexual minority would face.
While some faced difficulty in finding alternate accommodation, some found the new lifestyle too expensive to adjust.
Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is now taking steps to increase the strength of the transgender staff from an existing 14 to 60 and impart soft skills too.
When 23 TG employees were deployed in June, the criteria for recruitment included their educational qualifications. While Kudumbasree trained them with soft skills, the Metro agency upskilled them in managing ticket counters and housekeeping.
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“We decided to recruit TG people, a first in any metro system in the country as a social experiment and to ensure social inclusion. This, in a way, resulted in their problems being highlighted at the national level.” a KMRL spokesperson told The Hindu.
Several reports emerged citing the reasons for the nine employees to quit the job was a wage hike. Justifying their stand the KMRL spokesperson said that the pay scale of the TG employees was on par with the regular workforce.
“We aim to increase the number of TG people in the metro to 60 when the Pettah extension is completed, around two years down the line,” the spokesperson said.
According to the system, first preference is given to residents to Kochi. More than 20 candidates have already applied for two posts as per the district mission coordinator of Kudumbasree.
Based on the applicant’s rank in the test conducted by Kudumbasree, the recruitment and training of regular employees was to begin after Onam.
There is a possibility that the TG candidates will be trained alongside the regular workforce set to man stations in the Palarivattom-Maharaja’s College Ground corridor, to be commissioned in the first week of October.