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Kochi Metro, since its very inception has proved time and again that it is not afraid of

breaking stereotypes. Even in this day and age, discrimination and violence against the
LGBTQ community is rampant, especially in a developing country like India. Possibly the
most progressive step taken by it was the appointment of 23 transgender workers for
various roles. The organisation also ensured that these workers proper training in technical,
communication and safety areas for better assimilation of the workers.

Another decision taken by the organisation towards social equality is the appointment of
large number of female workers under Kudumbasree, a scheme initiated by the Kerala state
government with the aim of women empowerment and elimination of poverty in the state.
As a result, the recruitment process witnessed overly enthusiastic participation from
women. To make the process even more socially relevant, Kochi Metro gave priority to the
applicants who had themselves or their relatives displaced during the construction process
and those without a stable pay. Given the dire state of women in our country, more so in
professional areas, makes this a welcome step.

India does not have very conducive conditions for labourers by any standards. The social
exclusion they face due to a status being attached with every profession in our country
further escalates the problem. Again, Kochi metro led the way by setting an admirable
example. It organised Sadhya, a traditional Kerala meal and organised a Bollywood night
with performers singing Hindi songs for its 800 member strong migrant worker force.
Hopefully, this would inspire other organisations in the country to treat workers who are at
the bottom of the strata with more dignity, respect and social inclusion.

However, shortly after the operations started, problems started to arise. As many as eight
transgender workers quit their jobs. The most common season cited by the workers for
quitting was the unavailability of accommodation for them. Clearly, the social stigma
attached with the transgender community in India is too great to be overcome in a small
duration. It is this stigma that led to landlords refusing to rent accommodation to them. The
workers said that they had even complained to the district administration regarding the
issue but there was no reciprocation their part.

Although, Kochi Metro took numerous steps to emancipate the various sections of society,
some of its efforts turned futile. This is a clear indicator of the fact that there is a lot we
have to do in order to change our mentality as a society and country before we can even
think of achieving equality. But this would not be easy, not by a huge margin. It is because of
the fact that we have several connotations attached with almost every group be it on the
line of gender, caste, creed, language, region, colour, etc. And these connotations are
engrained heavily in our mind-set.