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Soon, govt to conduct transgender census, provide voter cards

Kolkata: The West Bengal Transgender Development Board is planning to conduct a census of transgenders across the state and make voter cards available for them so that they can cast their votes. "We know that the process will take time but we are now trying to go to the districts also to have a census and accordingly make arrangements for voter cards for this community. We are in talks with the Election Commission of India," Minister of State for Women & Child Welfare Shashi Panja said at a programme in Kolkata on Saturday.
The programme arranged by an NGO at a city auditorium witnessed visually challenged brothers and sisters offering bhai phonta to 50 members of this community.
Talking about the initiatives of the state government, Panja who is also the chairperson of the Transgender Board said that the government is trying to increase the visibility of the transgender community. "Our first job is to increase the visibility of the transgender community," she said. Students of a leading private college in South Kolkata were roped in to make some documentaries involving transgenders. "We have selected the best three and they are now being screened at Incoda TV with the Metro Railways, Kolkata," Panja said.
The Mamata Banerjee-government has kept representatives from this community even at the judges panel who went around the pandals across the city selecting the best Durga Pujas. Three awards were also earmarked for the best transgender-friendly Durga Puja in the city. "We are also planning to have awareness programmes at the upper primary and secondary levels in the state schools about the transgenders," Panja said.
Kanchan Gaba, who is the secretary of the NGO said that they are planning to set up a theatre group with the transgender community.
The NGO launched a new project Manabi named after Manabi Bandopadhyay, the first transgender principal of a college in India with the aim to improve lives of the third gender and channelise them into the mainstream of society.
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