Kochi: The initiative by the Kochi Metro authorities to employ 21 transgenders received wide accolades but within a week of operation, nine of them have quit their jobs as they failed to find cheap accommodation in the city and manage with their wages. The authorities of Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) on Saturday took up the issue with the district collector and the Social Welfare Department so as to arrange affordable lodging facilities for them. “Our Managing Director (Elias George) has spoken to the collector. We’re also trying to arrange accommodation through private parties as well through the Social Welfare Department,” a senior metro official said.
While those employed in the Ticketing section draw a gross salary of Rs 10, 500, the House Keeping staff gets only Rs 9,000 while their job hours extend to eight hours a day. “Though there are many vacant houses for rent, the owners refuse to hire it out to us. We’re forced to stay in lodges coughing up over Rs 600 per day. The problem of finding a shelter turned out to be an unexpected issue,” said Sheetal Shyam, a Ticketing Officer.
KMRL could not directly provide them accommodation options like quarters as then it would force the organization to extend similar facilities to 628 Kudumbashree workers. “Both are working on the same contract jobs and we can only take level-playing action,” the official said. However, a solution to the issue started working out by evening. “Thanks to the efforts of KMRL many of us have already got affordable shelter homes. Kudumbashree too has pitched in and promised to help us tide over the issue,” Sheethal said.