A woman in Pimpri-Chinchwad takes the initiative to transform her slum community

Women empowerment can be triggered through many a circumstance. In this case Jayshree Gulab Pingle of Pimpri-Chinchwad slum near Pune took on the leadership mantle when the municipality decided to go in for slum redevelopment.

She gathered the large slum population in the area to agree to a proposal of the corporation to move over to an interim camp to enable the civic agency to demolish the slum and redevelop it into a multi-storied tenement complex.

Now the president of one of the complexes, the 40-year-old woman has been appreciated for her forethought and ability to bring together the neighbourhood.

The aim of the municipal project is to help provide better living conditions with civic amenities to a population that has grown in the shadow of massive industrialisation. The project has been taken up at the Central Governments' Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

Maharashtrians who settled here from the hinterland have grown along with the automobile and IT industry in the area. Jayshree was the first woman to take the initiative, but the neighbourhood feels that this will pave the way for many more to become heads of complexes and change agents for labour working in the industrial areas. Pimpri-Chinchwad, which is emerging as a major industrial hub, presently has a population of about 17 lakhs, with slum dwellers accounting for about eight per cent at about 1.5 lakh. The municipality has so far re-developed the slums in nine locations across the township covering 6,600 families or about 33,000 people at an average size of five per family. Work on 1,564 more dwelling units are in different stages of construction.

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