It's our aim to see not a single person remains on streets this winter: Social W

It's our aim to see not a single person remains on streets this winter: Social W

As social welfare minister, what have you done for the homeless this week?

I have been on the streets mostly this week. Running around, supervising the working of night shelters, making surprise visits, passing instructions and co-ordinating with various NGOs and agencies like Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUISB), which is engaged in providing shelter to the homeless. Distribution of food and blankets has also been taken up.

A night shelter was demolished by the railways on Friday in Okhla.

In fact, I am returning from Okhla just. The shelter belonged to DUISB, and the railway demolished it on the grounds that it should have been built at least 50 metres away from the railway property.

It seems there was some miscommunication between the railways and Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. However, the matter has been resolved now, and the construction has been started to build a night shelter a little away from where it existed.

How many night shelters are available in the Capital as on today?

We have 64 permanent shelters and in addition to these, we have 20 portable cabins while others are coming up. I can only give you the exact figures on Monday.

How many homeless people are there in the city?

There is no clarity on it. No proper survey has been done so far... There is huge gap between figures which are touted by various NGOs. However, we have space for around 12,000 people, and more night shelters are coming up.

Many of these night shelters remain vacant because people do not know they exist.

We cannot have night shelters only at Hanuman Mandir or Jama Masjid. Delhi is a huge city and we have built shelters all around. We are also giving free Delhi Transport Corporation passes to the homeless population so that they can travel to these night shelters.

What is the amount that the government has kept aside to spend on homeless people?

There is plenty. Funds are no issue. Nobody is cribbing about the money. We are providing everything that is being demanded.

So, can we say there will be no homeless on the city roads this winter?

It is our aim and objective to see that not a single person remains on the street this winter. We are not resting till we achieve the object.

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