New Delhi: The Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) on Tuesday officially renamed one of its stations here as “Pride Station” dedicated to the transgender community, a first for Metro services in northern India.Also Read - THIS Metro Gets Highest Single-Day Ridership Post COVID-19 Lockdown

Gautam Buddh Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma, Noida MLA Pankaj Singh and NMRC Managing Director Ritu Maheshwari unveiled the new name of the station, earlier known as the Sector 50 station. Also Read - As UP Lifts Weekend Lockdown, Noida Metro Says Rides on Sundays Too | Here's What Riders Must Note

Six members of the transgender community, who have been recruited by NMRC through contractors for services at the Metro station, were present at the station. Also Read - Major Fire at Ganga Shopping Complex in Noida Sector 29, None Injured

“These members have been provided the necessary training by NMRC before deployment,” NMRC”s Deputy General Manager for Corporate Communications Sandhya Sharma said.

According to the NMRC, which operates the Metro between the twin cities of Noida and Greater Noida in western UP, it is a first-of-its-kind initiative introduced by a Metro network in northern India.

“This step has been taken by the NMRC for the inclusion and meaningful participation of the members of the transgender community. As per Census 2011, there are 4.9 lakh transgenders in India, out of whom around 35,000 are staying in NCR. These numbers may have increased manifold in the present scenario,” the operator said.

The initiative was inspired by the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, passed by the Centre for the protection of the rights of the transgender people and working towards their welfare, it added.

The NMRC had on June 19 announced its decision to convert the Sector 50 station into a “She – Man” station that shall have special facilities and employment for the transgenders. The operator had earlier thought of renaming the station as “Rainbow”.

Earlier in 2017, the Kochi Metro Rail Limited in Kerala had taken a similar step by employing 23 transgenders, breaking a new ground in gender justice.

“The station has been named ”Pride” as the NMRC feels extremely proud and privileged to have qualified members of the transgender community as part of the NMRC family. It also instils a sense of pride among the community and this step by NMRC is bound to be a ray of hope to uplift the members of this community and help in breaking stereotypes about them so that they too can live a dignified life with their head held high,” the NMRC said in a statement.

The name, it said, was selected after receiving suggestions from the general public and various NGOs and other organisations that work for the community.

Suggestions were called online from people on NMRC”s website and maximum people suggested the name “Pride”.

The “Pride” station, though dedicated to the transgenders, will be open for all passengers. It will also provide employment opportunities for the transgender community, it added.

The artwork and look of the Pride station has also been done to signify the essence and spirit of the members of the transgender community.

To provide the community with employment opportunities and to enable their meaningful inclusion in the society, NMRC had also come up with six vacancies — four for ticket vending operator and two for housekeeping staff — for the transgender community.

“These vacancies were specifically for deployment at the ”Pride” Station. The candidates were asked to submit their applications to NMRC”s contractors responsible for deploying staff at NMRC”s stations,” the operator said.