GUWAHATI, Sept 9 - With an aim to improve their representation in the voters� list and also draw a welfare proposal, the State Government has decided to map the transgender population for the first time ever.
The Social Welfare Department is also planning to rope in a Guwahati-based organisation to survey the �third-gender� population settled in a scattered manner across the State, including those who have migrated from other parts of the country.
The department, after carrying out the survey, is contemplating to issue permanent residence identity cards to each one of them, which will help them to travel and avail available facilities without any fear or apprehension.
In the last Assembly polls, names of 27 third gender voters were enlisted in the voters� list, which in no way reflects the presence of the �third gender� population, those working with the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) LGBT population believe.
With a select few educational institutions already including the option for third gender in the admission forms, the plan is to also cover educational institutes and railway stations, which will be sensitised about the �third gender� population.
A senior official of the department told this reporter that the need to map the �third gender� population was felt last year keeping in view the social stigma that these deprived population are subjected to. �Due to lack of any census of such people, it is virtually impossible to draw any welfare plan for them. We will soon decide on it so that no one feels left out,� the official felt.
Sources informed that last year a meeting did take place in Guwahati on the issue, but nothing materialised.
�In fact, we had approached the Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development for the survey, but things could not take a final shape,� the sources divulged.
Jitendra Kalita, project manager of Gharoa, an NGO working for the transgender population in Assam, said that social stigma continues to affect the transgender population across the State and �despite the fact that we had approached the Government many a time in this regard, nothing has come up till now.�
�There is a need for ensuring proper representation not only in the voters� list, but in all spheres,� Kalita said, adding that in Nagaon and Lumding itself, the NGO is working with nearly 80 transgender persons.