Gender park turns a flop

Envisaged as centre for women, but keeps them at bay.

KOZHIKODE: 'Thantedam Gender Park’ project, launched last year with much fanfare raising the expectations of women activists here, is a lost dream for them now. It has failed to provide the women in the city a platform to come together, failing the very idea behind the ambitious project, feel most of the women’s groups in the city. Many of the leaders of organisations alleged that the park, which came up on 20 acres as a centre for women in distress, is now trying to keep women at bay.

Swapna P. of Punarjani, the women advocates’ initiative, told DC that they did not get permission from the authorities to set up a free legal clinic on the campus. “We had approached many but failed to get a positive nod. We have even forgotten about its existence as nothing fruitful has taken place in it,” she pointed out. Many of the activists say they were invited for discussions on policy formation and concept development for the Gender Park during its ideation under the LDF regime last time.

The concept, however, underwent a sea change under the UDF ministry when M.K. Muneer headed the social justice department. Most of the activists were kept in the dark about its progress and proceedings. Noted activist K. Ajitha of Anweshi women’s group and V.P. Suhra of Nisa were earlier part of the discussions and also consulted on the structure of the women’s centre.

Ms Ajitha told DC that earlier she was told that she had been included in the advisory committee. “Later I came to know that I was excluded. Now I am totally unaware about the project. I have no complaints. There are some buildings. But the women’s community is totally unaware about its activities,” she added. Ms Suhra of Nisa told DC that she was unconcerned about the Gender Park. “We work at the grassroots, in the street. But I do wonder why the state government had lavished many crores in the name of women,” she said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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