Every year,several people from across the state come to Mumbai for specialised medical treatment that is not available in their villages or towns. To help such people find inexpensive lodging options and thereby encourage more people to come to the city for better medical facilities,the state government has launched a website,www.dharamshalas.com
The website has a database of all the citys hospitals and dharamshalas,which provide lodging at affordable prices. It currently gives information about 205 dharamshalas in Mumbai and about 60 hospitals,and new names are being added regularly. The website,which was launched earlier this month,is being run by members from the private sector at no cost to the state government.
The first task was to collate information about all dharamshalas across the city. Since not many people have access to the internet,we are trying to sensitise all government offices,major hospitals,district-level hospitals and dispensaries in the next phase to volunteer information about this website and help people search for the nearest accommodation, said chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia.
Accordingly,the state governments empowered committee on Mumbai transformation,comprising bureaucrats and private sector members,is taking efforts to sensitise the front desk of all hospitals to provide options of dharamshalas in the vicinity to patients using the website at the time of registration.
Hospitals are the first points of contact for such people. We are also asking them to put up posters,listing out all the dharamshalas nearby using the website. There is also a plan of creating a call centre that can pull up information about dharamshalas, said Ajay Saxena,an expert on public-private partnership from the Asian Development Bank and an adviser to the state government. Saxena,with the help of a private firm,was in charge of executing the project,which included collecting information about dharamshalas,verifying the contact details/addresses and putting up the list online area-wise.
Our ultimate aim is that people should not only be able to look up the addresses and contact numbers of the nearest dharamshalas,but also compare rates,check availability and book beds online. We are continuously working on improving it, Saxena said.