Ray of hope for Vrindavan widows

New Delhi : Concerned over the plight of widows in Vrindavan, Women and Child Development Ministry has initiated work for building the country’s largest facility for them with a capacity of 1000 beds so that they can be provided better living conditions.

The shelter home is to be built on a three-and-half acre of land in Vrindavan at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore for the destitute women. Widows, ostracised and neglected by their families, come in large numbers to Vrindavan every year from across the country. Around 2,000 of them live in five shelter homes in miserable conditions and turn to begging.

More than 1,000 such women are supported by Sulabh International which provides them a monthly stipend, medical facilities and arrangements for vocational training. The other shelter homes are run by the state government and lack many facilities. “There is still very less social acceptance for widows and they are abandoned by their families, particularly in rural areas. We have initiated work for building the country’s biggest facility for them in Vrindavan,” a senior ministry official said.

“It will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore and three-and-a-half acres of land has been identified for it,” he said. The ministry had sought a report from UP government on the living condition of widows staying in different shelter homes of Vrindavan, which was apparently not found to be satisfactory following which a decision to built the facility was taken. “After we understood the concerns and problem being faced by the widows, we decided to go for this project at Vrindavan,” he added.

According to a 2009-10 study on the living conditions of more than 200 widows in Vrindavan conducted by National Commission for Women, the premises where the homes are run are over 100 years old. “The infrastructure is unsuited to the needs of the women who live there as there is no running water in the toilets and old women are required to climb stairs to reach their rooms.

“Inspite of repairs the doors and windows of the building are in a poor condition and during the winter season the women complain of cold drafts that lead to constant colds and aching bones,” the study had mentioned in its findings.−PTI

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