Eight of the 21 transgender people who were given jobs by Kochi Metro Rail Ltd in its ticketing and housekeeping departments last week have quit after being unable to find cheap and safe accommodation in the city, Hindustan Times reported on Sunday. In the first phase, 21 of the 23 transgender people accepted the jobs offered to them. The KMRL was planning to absorb 20 more from the community in the second phase.
The group had appealed to Kochi Mayor Soumini Jain and the district collector for help, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
“Right now I am staying in a lodge where the daily rent is Rs 600. If the situation continues like, this my rent will outweigh my returns. How can I sustain like this?” asked Raga Ranjini, who works as a ticket collector at Edapally Station and draws a monthly salary of Rs 15,000.
Tripthi, another transgender person, had refused a job in housekeeping on the same grounds. “I am staying in a one-room house on the outskirts of the city. Without an accommodation I can’t shuttle every day, so I opted out,” she said.
Jain said she was not aware of the problem, but she would take it up with Kochi Metro officials and help find a solution.
Spokesperson for the KMRL CR Reshmi said the transgender employees were appointed under a contract given to Kudumbasree, an all-women anti-poverty mission, and hence, the company was unable to provide them accommodation.
“We have 628 members of Kudumbasree working in various wings of the KMRL. If we give any special consideration to them, these women will also claim it. It will not be possible for us to provide accommodation to everybody. We are not an employer but a facilitator,” Reshmi was quoted as saying by Firstpost.
However, she added that KMRL was identifying suitable space that they can rent in the city for their transgender employees.
The first stretch of the metro from Aluva to Palarivattom was commissioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 17.