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Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation ropes in transgender group for waste management

BMC has tied up with a transgender SHG for the management and operation of cesspool vehicles (Pic. Courtesy Twitter@MayorofBBSR)

As a civic authority, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation in Odisha is working continuously to ensure inclusivity of all sections of the society, including the transgenders. Working in that direction, in their latest initiative, BMC has decided to engage the members of trans community in the operation and maintenance of cesspool vehicles.

For this the BMC signed an agreement with a self-help group of the community TG Swikruti SHG which will operate and maintain the vehicles used for cesspool management in the city.

Currently, BMC has nine such vehicles which are used to empty septic tanks and moving the sludge to the treatment plants. Of these nine, seven will be handed over to TG Swikruti Group for operation and maintenance.

For these seven vehicles, the SHG has to pay no performance security or monthly fee. They will hire an authorised driver and two helpers for each vehicle who will be paid the minimum applicable wage. Details of the staff will have to be informed to BMC while the civic authority will impart training to all cesspool vehicle staff on health and hygiene, dislodging service, behaviour, PPE use and related protocols.

Meghana Sahoo, the leader of the SHG expressed happiness with the new assignment and thanked BMC for trusting them.

Welcoming this move, Meera Parida, Chairman of All Odisha Third Gender Welfare Trust and activist told India Narrative: “It is definitely a step in the right direction. The community needs to be made economically independent, thus making them self-reliant and confident.”

Parida went on to add: “Even though each and every type of work and activity in the society, from farming to teaching to driving and business is important, we don’t want the trans people to be identified with waste management. The cesspool vehicles work is vital but it should not be tagged to the community is my submission. Other avenues of employment and gainful engagement too should be opened for trans people.”

BMC has been continuously involving transgender communities in different responsibilities including parking, defaulters’ tax collection and sanitation activities. Praising BMC, Parida observed: “The civic bodies like BMC and Cuttack Municipal Corporation and the State Government have been always in the forefront of helping the community. We are grateful and look forward to more such initiatives.”

The agreement was signed in the presence of Mayor Sulochana Das and Commissioner Vijaya Amruta Kulange.

Also read: Odisha becomes the first State to provide equal opportunity to transgender community