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Chandigarh

Posted at: Oct 11, 2018, 2:08 AM; last updated: Oct 11, 2018, 2:08 AM (IST)

9 years on, Working Women Hostel remains shut

Was closed for renovation; inaugurated again by MP Kirron Kher in 2016, but yet to be made operational

Ramkrishan Upadhyay

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10

While working women are facing a shortage of hostel facilities in the city, the authorities have failed to make Working Women Hostel at Bal Bhawan in Sector 23-C functional. For the past nine years, the hostel has been lying unused.

Sources said in 2009, the UT Administration had closed the hostel to undertake renovation work. The renovation could not be started for years for want of funds. Later, the Engineering Department started the renovation work in 2016 and completed it in three months. Interestingly, the upgraded hostel was inaugurated by city MP Kirron Kher on August 30, 2016, in the presence of the Secretary and Director, Social Welfare Department.

However, even after the inauguration, the department concerned failed to make the hostel functional for two years.

Navjot Kaur, Director, Social Welfare Department, said they had chalked out a plan and the hostel would be made functional soon.

The hostel was started in 1979 with a capacity of 50 beds. It used to charge a nominal rate for food and lodging from inmates.

The sources said 50 girls used to reside in the hostel before it was shut for renovation. The hostel was constructed to provide stay facilities for working women, who come from far-off places to work and earn a livelihood in Chandigarh.

The then Adviser to the Administrator had ordered the renovation of the building, including the multi-purpose hall, and the parking area at an estimated cost of around Rs 1 crore.

Subhash Chander, honorary secretary of Bal Bhawan, said they were working on a plan to start the hostel soon. Earlier, they had made efforts, but could not find a contractor for running the mess.

Sunidhi, a working woman, said the paying guest facility in the city was costly and the UT Administration should start the hostel facility as soon as possible.

At present, there are two functional working women hostels in the city — one at Sector 11 and the other in Sector 24, run by the Social Welfare Department. These hostels have a combined capacity for accommodating 136 working women.

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