Homeless spend sleepless nights

Homeless spend sleepless nights

DUSIB fails to rehabilitate inhabitants of Shakurpur shelter home

Homeless spend sleepless nights

Thinking of finding a living, Sanjay Kumar, 55, came to Delhi two years ago after his children abandoned him. After spending nights on footpaths, he found a home in a night shelter at Shakurpur in north-west Delhi.

But much to his dismay, the night shelter was demolished by the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) in March this year as it was in the middle of a Delhi Metro construction site for Mukundpur-Shiv Vihar corridor.

It has been three months and counting since the DUSIB demolished the night home. The inhabitants of the shelter have been left in the lurch as DUSIB is not taking their rehabilitation seriously. The shelter housed at least 30 to 35 persons.

Like Kumar, there are several people who were earlier forced to bear the brunt of the scorching heat and now the early arrival of monsoon has added to their woes.
Munna Singh, 25, who works as a porter, now sleeps under a flyover in Shakurpur. “We had to spend two nights sitting due to heavy downpour. We didn’t have a place to lie down. The days are spent in search of work and nights finding a place to sleep,” he said.

The Indo Global Social Service Society (IGSSS) has been asking DUSIB to put up a night shelter close to the razed home at the earliest.

“The DUSIB is bound to hold a joint apex advisory committee (JAAC) meeting in every 15 days in which issues about the night shelters are discussed. But the meetings take place only at the sweet will of DUSIB,” said Indu Singh, an IGSSS member.

JAAC was constituted after the Delhi High Court had order to look into the issues of the homeless.

DUSIB tried to wash its hands of the issue by saying that the inhabitants can go to the nearby shelter home. The society for promotion of youth and masses runs the shelter home in Raja Garden area.

“This shelter home is over three kilometres away and these people prefer staying close to their workplace,” said Nitesh Kumar, project coordinator at the Raja Garden shelter.

Sunny Singh, 30, another inhabitant of the demolished night home said, “The government wants us to do up-down daily. It is over six kilometres. We hardly make enough money to get two meals a day, how can we afford the conveyance?” he asked.

Court order

DUSIB is not abiding by the high court’s order. “Even the Delhi High Court in its order on April 10 had asked the government to reply to the affidavit filed by Shehri Adhikar Manch:Begharon Ke Saath by May 22. But the DUSIB failed to respond. Then the court fixed August 7 as the next date for DUSIB to file a reply,” Singh said.

The affidavit had also asked the DUSIB to put up a shelter close to the Shakurpur home.

DUSIB said it has appointed a committee to look into the matter.

“The committee has visited a site to rebuild the night shelter and filed the report. We will go through it and do what is necessary. We have to follow the procedure which takes time,” Kamal Malhotra, director night shelter, DUSIB told Deccan Herald.