The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has at last taken a first step towards creating a gender-friendly development plan for the city, which includes hostels for working women, single women and women in distress, child-care centres, and Aadhar Kendras to help women from poor families develop useful skills.
The locations for these social amenities are to be identified in the revised development plan (DP) 2034. While the BMC has released two revisions of the draft, this exercise is for the third phase, which includes revised development control regulations (DCR). At a meeting on Saturday, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta directed officials to look at potential infrastructure development to help women from different walks of life.
The BMC has also determined its location preferences and the minimum sizes for these institutions. For instance, the preferred location for the working women’s hostel is near a commercial establishment, and its minimum stipulated size is 1,000 square metres. Similarly, the Aadhar Kendras must be built around markets and railway stations, the documents state.
Apart from multi-purpose housing for women, Mehta has also directed officials to look at possible locations for old-age homes, student hostels, shelters for the homeless, public toilets and drinking-water facilities.
A senior civic official, who did not wish to be named, said, “Ward officials have been given a format to fill the requirements for their areas, mentioning the centres that already exist and the proposed ones. They are expected to submit their reports to the DP department as soon as possible.”
According to the 2011 census, Mumbai has a population of 1.27 crore, 45% of which are women. Of the 57.41 lakh women, around eight lakh work, while over 20 lakh commute daily to schools, shops and other establishments.
Women’s groups have been demanding a gender-sensitive blueprint for the city for some time now. However, they were disappointed as the civic body, despite holding several ward-level consultations, failed to include points raised by them.
They had also jointly appealed to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to include facilities for women in the DP.
Dr Nandita Shah, co-director of Akshara, an NGO that includes a team of women’s rights activists, said, “This is definitely a welcome move. The BMC has finally heard our demands. We also want them to include gender-friendliness in the preamble for DP 2034.”