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RANCHI : Breaking the glass ceiling, Tata Steel on Thursday onboarded 14 transgenders as Heavy Earth Moving Machinery (HEMM) operators at its West Bokaro division in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district. 

The move comes close on the heels of the private sector steel manufacturer’s announcement that its Noamundi Iron Mine in the state is set to witness a 30-member all-women team taking up drilling, dumper, and shovel operations in all shifts from early next year.

The company has set a target of creating a 25% diverse workforce by 2025.

"As part of its sustained efforts to enable a diverse and inclusive culture, Tata Steel’s West Bokaro division today onboarded 14 transgenders as Heavy Earth Moving Machinery (HEMM) operators at its coal mines. This landmark initiative aims to break the glass ceiling but also targets to mainstream transgenders in society," the company said in a statement.

Speaking on the occasion, Tata Steel vice president, raw materials, D B Sundara Ramam, said as an equal opportunity employer, Tata Steel respects the uniqueness of individuals and is “putting its best foot forward to shape the workspace of tomorrow.

“This day marks yet another milestone in our journey towards a diverse and inclusive tomorrow. Our pioneering diversity and inclusion endeavours are transformative and have brought about paradigm shifts in the way we do mining."

Congratulating the team, the company’s vice president, human resources management, Atrayee Sanyal, said pioneering initiatives like this further reinforce the company's belief in strengthening the organisation through embracing a variety of identities, thoughts, and perspectives.

“We will continue with our efforts to drive LGBTQ inclusion and build a benchmark workplace. We welcome all the members to the Tata Steel family and wish them all success and a great career ahead," said Sanyal. 

LGBTQ refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and related communities. 

Recently, Tata Steel’s West Bokaro division recruited 17 women as HEMM operators under its Women@Mines initiative. The initiative aims to provide technical training to unskilled women workers and enable them to work in core jobs in mines. The women HEMM operators are currently under training and will be deployed in mining operations early next year, the statement said. In a similar module, the onboarded transgenders will also be trained for a year before they begin working in mines.

"From the formation of MOSAIC, the company’s diversity and inclusion initiative, in 2015 to participation in RISE – the largest job fair for LGBTQ in Asia, to recruiting transgenders now, Tata Steel has not only evolved as a global torchbearer but has also encouraged others to be inclusive," the statement said.

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