As a part of ‘Project Equality’ and to deal with discrimination at workspace, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has said it would recruit transgenders and people living with Down Syndrome in airports across Northeast India. After inducting AAI’s first transgender lawyer Swati Bidhan Barua at Guwahati two months back, the national air operation agency has now set a target to engage at least one transgender executive at Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport by next month.
In an ‘Equality Awareness Program’ organised at MBB Airport on Thursday, AAI NE Regional Executive Director Sanjeev Jindal said they are undertaking a special initiative to mainstream transgenders into the employment ecology.
“We are bringing in transgenders into the mainstream of employment ecology. Our Project Equality aims at bringing in women and transgenders. We are the first to have employed transgenders at Imphal Airport, we also have the first transgender lawyer with us. We shall bring in more of these people who have suffered from inequality into the mainstream at airports,” Regional Director Jindal told a press conference later this evening.
AAI isn’t directly recruiting transgenders since its induction is monitored at a corporate level. However, officials clarified that the AAI is creating conducive employment ecology by encouraging third party human resource providers to supply a certain portion of required manpower from transgenders.
The national aviation agency hired advocate Swati Bidhan Barua as its first transgender counsel in November last year. Swati previously served as one among 20 judges who mediated cases in the Lok Adalat. Apart from her, Imphal Airport in Manipur has got Milan, the region’s first transgender executive working at a help desk.
As part of extending the equality project, AAI has now set a target to engage at least one transgender executive at Tripura’s Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport by next month.
“We shall ensure that we shall give an opporunity to at least one transgender executive to serve at MBB Airport by the end of February this year, may be from third party”, MBB Airport Director VK Seth said.
Apat from transgenders and women, the AAI has also set out to induct people living with Down Syndrome in airport employment.
“Our plan is to induct people suffering with Down Syndrome. They are exceedingly loving. And they are extremely good in repetitive type of jobs like trolley-retrieving. I am sure they will do very well in these jobs. There is no airport in India where we have such people working yet,” Regional Director Jindal said.
Northeast India has got 12 airports, among which the most sophisticated terminal is scheduled to be launched at Agartala airport in March this year, including full body scanners. AAI connected Mizoram and Nagaland last year and is working to connect all NE states under regional connectivity.
While Guwahati remains the busiest airport in NE region, MBB Airport in Tripura handles the second highest air traffic. As per airport authorities, while 1.57 million passengers used MBB Airport in 2018, he figures are close to 1.8 million last year.