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Looking for place to stay in Mumbai? First hostel for working women to come up at Goregaon

The idea behind the Mumbai hostel is to also encourage the participation of women in the workforce

mumbai Updated: Aug 16, 2017 09:15 IST
Eeshanpriya M S 
Eeshanpriya M S 
Hindustan Times
working women,Mumbai,Mumbai hostel
The design of the hostel was drafted after four months of surveying existing working women hostels in the city. (PHOTO FOR REPRESENTATION ONLY)

Relocating to Mumbai for a job and looking for a place to stay? Good news, the city will soon get a multi-purpose hostel for working women (MHWW), which will be able to accommodate 100 guests.

The hostel will be designed by a group of NGOs, gender rights activists, and architects, called ‘Gender and DP’, along with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), and will be built on a civic plot in Goregaon. The Development Plan (DP) department of the civic body has completed drafting its policy for the hostel.

“The policy is ready and work on construction of the building will start once it has the municipal commissioner’s nod. It will be a seven-storey building, so we need to do soil testing of the plot,” said a senior official from the DP department. “BMC got possession of the plot only last week, after settlement of a court case. Although the DP has not been passed yet, with an order from the civic chief, we can start work.”

A member of the group designing the hostel said BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta has directed the DP department to start construction by October. “We want to freeze the policy by the end of August, so that BMC can start with the tendering process,” she said.

Nandita Shah, co-director of Akshara Centre, who is part of the ‘Gender and DP’ group, said, “The idea behind the hostel is to not just provide accommodation for working women, but to encourage the participation of women in the workforce. Lack of safe accommodation discourages women from working in the city. Currently, only 16% of the workforce is women.”

Often, single women who come to Mumbai for work find it difficult to rent a house as landlords are reluctant to let out houses to them. The hostel will benefit these working women.

The hostel will be designed to accommodate women for a period of anywhere between five days and three or five years. It will also provide temporary shelter to women in distress, until they can seek help. Accommodation will be provided to women from all strata of society. Women will have to pay for the accommodation, but the fees will be stratified based on the service and income of the individual. The hotel will have dormitories, and rooms.

An official associated with the DP department said, “We want to make the hostel self-sufficient, so the fees charged from residents will cover the maintenance and property tax of the building. Since it has to be affordable, we have decided to introduce 20% commercial space in the building.”

To ensure compatibility with the hostel model, and the safety of the women who will live there, commercial space will be given out only to banks, meeting halls, conference rooms and coffee shops.

The design of the hostel was drafted after four months of surveying existing working women hostels in the city. BMC worked with three policy research students from the University of Mumbai, who conducted 11 surveys of existing hostels. Other members of the group, which gave feedback to the policy, include Jyoti Mhapsekar from Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Nirmala Sawant of Amrapali hostel, YWCA, and planners from CIDCO and TISS.

The policy for MHWW plans three methods of funding. BMC is one source, and around 75% of the funding will be sourced from the Women and Child Welfare Department of the state. Some money will be sourced from a public-private partnership.

The DP department is currently in the process of drafting policies for all reservations under the DP 2034, which includes a day-care centre for children, and for senior citizens, an old age home, and leisure centres. However, since MHWW has been linked to the BMC budget this year, work on that policy was fast tracked.

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 09:13 IST