CHANDIGARH: After Delhi's east district roped in transgender people to advise women on safety in public transport last year, the Punjab government could become the first state to hire the third gender as conductors or safety officers in buses.
Navdeep Asija, Punjab government's traffic adviser appointed by the Punjab and Haryana high court on July 9, said he had put across the idea during the hearing of a case on public transport before the high court last week as part of verbal discussions on making buses safer. "I'll move a proposal with the transport department soon," he said.
The case is primarily about safety of kids in school buses but over time it has become more broad-based looking at safety in buses.
The 2011 census figures show that transgenders constitute 2% of the total population of Punjab. In 2010, the Punjab government created a separate category in application forms under which third gender people can apply for government vacancies.
The proposal, said Asija, is in line with the recent Supreme Court ruling which said, "The spirit of the Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender. It gave directions to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities."
He added that since ancient times, women have felt secure in the company of transgender people. Besides, they are physically strong to protect them in case of any eventuality in public transport. An IIT-Delhi alumnus, Asija is a road safety expert.
Punjab has had some infamous cases related to women in buses including the death of a teenaged girl in May in Moga after she was allegedly thrown out of a moving bus by the conductor along with her mother.
Punjab government officials told TOI the suggestion was yet to come up as a formal proposal.