5 years on, all-women’s ground at Mumbra by this month-end

Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai
Mar 08, 2019 12:20 AM IST

To ensure safety, the ground will also have security guards, will be well-lit with changing room facilities

This Women’s Day, a group of 20 girls from Mumbra, a suburb on the outskirts of Mumbai, have a reason to cheer. The girls will have their own ground by the end of this month.

Picture for representation only.(HT Photo)
Picture for representation only.(HT Photo)

Salma Ansari, a member of the group who had initiated the signature campaign, said, “This is a big victory for us. It is reflective of what collective voices can do together.”

Five years after they were promised a plot exclusively for girls and women, the Thane municipal corporation (TMC) started work on the plot next to Maulana Azad Stadium in Kausa. Sanjeev Jaiswal, TMC commissioner, confirmed that the work has started on-ground.

The work is expected to be completed by the end of this month, said Jitendra Awhad, local MLA and state minister, who had backed the demand and followed it up with the municipal body.

“There were some problems as a part of the land was under coastal regulation zone-1 and we had to get land from a builder. But now work has started. This is probably the first time that we are building an all-girls’ ground,” Awhad said.

To ensure safety, the ground will also have security guards, will be well-lit with changing room facilities.

“This reservation sets a benchmark for other municipalities in our cities on what needs to done to get women into public space, beyond mere lip service to the cause of women’s empowerment,” said Sabah Khan, founder of Parcham, an NGO which has been pursuant with TMC to get the ground for the girls.

Parcham has also successfully trained close to 500 girls to play football in and around Mumbai.

Khan said that most of the grounds in the area are occupied by men making it impossible for girls to access the open spaces.

The landmark decision to allot the plot was taken after 874 girls and women from Mumbra had signed a petition seeking reservation of a sports’ ground in 2014.

The decision is laudable considering that the suburb has 24 % women who are illiterate, 92%who are unemployed and 28% who were married before the age of 17, according to a 2001 TISS report titled ‘Mumbra — a status report’.

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