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Confusion over alternative arrangement for residents

The girls and women residing in Nusrat Hostel are confused over the policy of hostel administration for an alternative arrangement, as the deadline to vacate rooms for renovation work is nearing.

The Ministry of Women Development (MoWD) has given the deadline of April 15 to vacate rooms so that Capital Development Authority (CDA) can start the construction work as planned. “We have not been given any clear instructions about the policy of the hostel administration,” said one hostel resident.

She said that residents received letter which mentions that rooms should be vacated for one month. “No one is ready to leave room for one month. We demanded that renovation should be done step by step means one room vacated for maximum ten days,” she said.

Talking to ‘The News’, Warden Shaista Mumtaz said that vacation plan would be decided in complete consultation with the residents. She said that the CDA would star work on April 15 as per plan. “They will start work on common area first which will take around 20 days. Meanwhile, we will decide plan to start renovation in the hostel area,” she said.

Shaista said that the problems that will be addressed in the first phase of renovation will include seepage in walls due to cracked pipes and bad shape of washrooms. “The administration has held several meetings with the CDA officials and it has been decided that the renovation work will be conducted in phases so that least number of hostel residents get disturbed,” she added.

Seepage due to broken and cracked pipes and the bad shape of washrooms is termed the biggest problem in the hostel that is in a real need of white wash as well. In words of one of the residents, the taps of the hostel run almost all the time due to broken washroom appliances. “All washroom appliances are either broken or not working and there is seepage all over the hostel walls,” she said on condition of anonymity.

Right now, the Nusrat Hostel, located opposite to the Melody Market, accommodates 99 girls in all from all age groups. The hostel is named after Nusrat Bhutto and is one of the few facilities created by the government for working women in the year 1990.

Despite being such a favourite destination for workingwomen, the hostel was never maintained the way it should. It not only gives the looks of a haunted house from outside but its residents tell almost the same stories about facilities provided inside the hostel.

Taking notice of the dilapidated condition of Nusrat Hostel for Working Women, former advisor to Prime Minister on Women Development Yasmeen Rehman issued orders of immediate initiation of renovation work of the building almost four months back in September 2010. The ministry has allocated Rs2.3 million to the Capital development Authority (CDA) for renovation work.

Ministry officials told ‘The News’ that the CDA was demanding Rs8 million for complete renovation but the request for more funds was not accepted by the Finance Division. He said that the former federal minister for women development Firdous Aashiq Awan was planning to visit Nusrat Hostel at the time she was given the charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The new minister Samina Khalid Ghurki has not visited the hostel yet.

When asked about the fate of Nusrat Hostel after devolution of Ministry of Women Development, the hostel administration and MoWD officials had no clear answer. They said that the hostel would be shifted to either Ministry of Housing and Works or Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

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