Palike's lack of conviction leaves homeless still hopeless
Palike tries passing off open air theatre as night shelter, SC committee finds
The City’s demographic mixture, made up of thousands of homeless, negates the tall claims of development.
In January 2010, the Supreme Court had directed all the state governments to set up shelters for the homeless in all towns with a population of one lakh and more. In Bangalore, the reponsibility rests with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Although the Palike had proposed to set up 70 shelters, only six have materialised so far (see table).
These provide shelter only for about 200 of the close to 18,000 homeless in the City (see table 2).
Bogged down by a rotten reputation, the Palike was recently caught stifling the truth –– this time in front of a Joint Inspection Committee (JIC) instituted by the Supreme Court Commissioner’s Office looking into shelter for the homeless.
An inspection on February 16 at a Shelter Home in Vijayanagar by the JIC team revealed that the shelter was arranged in an open air theatre without any closed doors. “The Palike had erected the board just a month before the inspection,” one of the JIC members said.
The Palike, which is still in the process of defining ‘urban homeless’ could have been trying to show an inflated numbers about the occupants of the shelters in order to escape scrutiny by the Supreme Court, activists say.
The inspecting team found that the shelter home in Vijayanagar did not have drinking water, toilets or bathrooms. The families residing there had to use public toilets and bathe under plastic sheets.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Clifton Rozario, Advisor to the Commissioners of Supreme Court and a member of the JIC, said: “It is not clear why the BBMP tried passing off one of their properties as shelter homes, but what is clear is that the BBMP is interested in everything except social projects like these.”
The team found two cobbler families, who hold voter identity cards, living at the theatre, while about 15-20 construction labourers, more needy of such shelters, sleep outside on the pavement.
“On questioning the labourers, they said they do not sleep on the same pavement every night and keep shifting the abode daily,” one of the JIC members said, adding that the labourers, however, expressed concern over the safety of women and children.
The open air theatre has two small rooms, one of which is a BBMP ward office and the other an anganwadi centre. The families living there said that there are many more people living on the streets in the nearby area.
The team also found waste bins, tailoring machines and other articles belonging to the BBMP dumped in the same place.
Zone-wise details of shelters
Name of the Zone No.of No. of Capacity of
shelters people the shelter
Bommanahalli 2 30 + 30 75+75
Rajarajeshwarinagar 1 12 30
Dasarahalli 1 8 15
East zone 0 0 0
West Zone In the process of opening 3 shelters
South zone 1 30-40 40-45
Mahadevapura 0 0 0
Bytarayanapura 1 7-8 30
Urban homeless in 8 BBMP zones
Zone As per As per
NGO Survey Govt survey
East 5916 588
West 4316 117
South 2154 222
Mahadevapura 1642 1612
Dasarahalli 236 18
Yelahanka 273 133
Bommanahalli 2130 108
Rajarajeshwarinagar 474 60
Total 17,141 2,868