Rose (name changed), 24, a nurse who stays in the hostel facility situated in the premises of Guru Nanak Hospital in Bandra, dreads it when any of her hostel mates catches an infection.
“There is hardly any space between the bunk beds in our hostel and when anyone of us get an infection such as a cold, it spreads rapidly in the room,” said Rose. A majority of the 33 nurses staying in the single hall have migrated to the city from Kerala, in search of better prospects. However, their living conditions in the city are pitiful.
When the Hindustan Times visited the hostel hall — which accommodates 33 nurses — suitcases were strewn around, and clothes were drying on the bunk beds, as there was no place to hang them. There was also hardly any place to walk.
“Basic amenities such as ventilation are missing. There are only three air conditioners in the hall, shared by 33 people. Moreover, most nurses end up living out of their suitcases, as there is not enough storage space,” said Rose.
Low pay scales are adding to their misery.
“We get paid Rs 8000 to Rs 10,000 per month, which is not sufficient to live in a city like Mumbai. We cannot afford to rent a flat as we also send money to our home,” said a nurse.
The going can often get even tougher for the male nurses, who are not provided accommodation and have to manage rent and living expenses in their salary.
“I share a one-room kitchen apartment in Kurla with seven people. We cannot afford anything better than that, said Ashish (name changed) who works at Kohinoor Hospital and earns Rs15,000 a month.
Melvin Matthew, nurse from Asian Heart Institute hospital, who resigned after the strike last month said, “We used the room only to sleep. We did not even have time to cook. The hospital did not provide us food. There were so many days when we skipped lunch,” said Matthew.