Itanagar: The Union government`s scheme to
provide hostel accommodation to single, divorced and unmarried
working women in the country lay in a shambles in Arunachal
Pradesh where 10 such hostels exist.
The women`s hostels were built under the ambitious
scheme launched by the Union Ministry of Women and Child
Development way back in 1972 to provide accommodation to
working women at a minimal charge.
A visit to several of these hostels suggests that all
of them, with the exception of a few, have become almost
unliveable for lack of proper maintenance.
The hostels are located at Tawang, Bomdila, Itanagar,
Naharlagun, Roing, Ziro and Changlang which are managed by
Non-Governmental Organisations, Voluntary Organizations and a
few by the state Social Welfare Women and Child Development
The two hostels at Itanagar and Naharlagan are,
however, managed by the Arunachal Pradesh Social Welfare
Advisory Board (APSWAB).
A visit to a working women`s hostel in the capital,
established in 1980, tells a sad tale.
The hostel with 10 rooms though boasts of several
toilets and bathrooms to cater to a more than 20 women
inmates, their dilapidated condition render these almost
What comes as a shock is that the inmates have to
cope with almost defunct water and power supply.
A boarder, said there were times when water supply
remained suspended for months together.
During such times, we have to beg water, and that
too a bucket at most, from the hotels nearby and make do with
it somehow,`` she lamented.
To add to the woes, doors and windows of the hostels
are all broken and to make up for this, the inmates shield
them with cardboards, cartons and whatever such like staff
they get hold of.
The irony is that every inmate pays rent regularly.
A double room costs about Rs 300, single room Rs 200
and another Rs 100 towards water and electricity bills per
As if this was not enough, many boarders complained
officially that males also, at times, stay in the hostel for
months claiming to be relatives or family members of women
The hostel warden, who is a working woman herself
residing in the hostel, acknowledged the boarders` account and
APSWAB member-secretary M Ali, when contacted, blamed
the alleged entry of males in the hostel on the delay in
approving a proposal for construction of a boundary wall.