Women’s hostels operate sans licences

Women’s hostels operate sans licences
Highlights

The girls and working women\'s hostels are being run sans valid licences and not implementing the government rules and regulations, according to sources. As there is no enforcement, some hostels, which obtained permission earlier not even applying for renewal of their licences. The officials of women and child welfare department are not inspecting the hostels.

: The girls and working women's hostels are being run sans valid licences and not implementing the government rules and regulations, according to sources. As there is no enforcement, some hostels, which obtained permission earlier not even applying for renewal of their licences. The officials of women and child welfare department are not inspecting the hostels.

According to the Women's and Children's Institutions (Licensing) Act, 1956, the managements of the women’s hostels and working women’s hostels should obtain licence from the women and child welfare department to run the houses. After the sensational murder of Ayesha Meera in Vijayawada, the government had directed the district administration to make licences mandatory for all the private hostels.

The district administration in 2011 had organised a meeting with the private hostel managements, later women and child welfare department not convened a meeting to check the renewals and issue new licences.

Following the several offences against the women, including murders and sexual abuses in the women's hostels, the state government had adopted the Women’s and Children's Institutions (Licensing) Act of 1956 and framed rules for running women's and girls hostels.

According to the Act, the managements of the hostels should obtain licences from the district-level committee of their district concerned. The government has set up a district- level committee with Collector as chairman and Superintendent of Police and an official of the women and child welfare department are the members. The committee will examine the application and issue of the licences to the hostels.

For the past one decade, the women and girls are coming to the city for jobs and higher education and taking shelters in the private hostels. Some of the educational institutions are setting up the hostels in connivance with the private parties. The managements are suggesting those hostels as best to join.

In fact, the educational institutions, which have been running the girls hostels, should obtain permission from the department and take licences, but a few institutions are taking licences. At present, there are 138 girls and working women’s hostels in the district. Majority of the hostels are not having licences and some hostels are not renewed their licences.

The applicants has to submit documents of the sale or rental agreement of the building, plan of the building, proper security arrangements, including CCTV cameras, deployment of 24/7 security guards, strict vigil at the main entrance with proper in and out ward registers, medical facilities to the inmates, first aid and fire equipment (in case of multi-storeyed buildings), proper sanitation and drinking water.

The management should also ensure that a women warder should reside in the hostel 24/7 and monitor the inmates periodically. After submission of all the documents and photographs of the arrangements, the officials of the women and child welfare department will examine the same and refer to the licensing authority (district-level committee).

The managements should also inform the police station of the concerned about the details of the hostel and update the data whenever new inmate joins. But, no police station is having such data in the city.

"Yes, according to the Act, the organisers of working women's, girls, orphan and destitute hostels should obtain licences from the department. There are strict rules and guidelines framed by the government. There are some lapses in the department in monitoring the hostels. However, we will look into the issue," a senior official of the department of women and child welfare department,” said on condition of anonymity.

When asked about the issue, the district women and child welfare officer Chinmaya Devi said that for the past four years, the department did not issue licences and renewal licences. "A few years ago, we have conducted some meetings and alerted the hostel managements. However, for the past four years, we have not conducted any meeting to check and monitor the hostels in the district,” Chinmaya Devi said.

By VKL Gayatri

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