Man sleeps in open, dies

NGO says there was no room for him in night shelter

The sorry state of affairs of night shelters has once again come to the fore as a homeless man died on Wednesday night in Kashmere Gate area after he spent the night in the open. An NGO alleged that he slept out for lack of space inside the shelter home nearby.

This happened merely a few days after Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) told High Court on November 27 that it would ensure that not a single person is forced to spend night in the open.

The victim has been identified as a Nepali national but his name and other details are yet to be known. He is believed to be aged between 40 to 45 years. 

“He was last seen walking and eating lunch at a park near Yamuna Pusta Nigambodh Ghat,” said Sunil, member of Shehri Adhikar Manch: Begharon Ke Saath, an umbrella organisation working for the homeless.

According to the voluntary organisation, despite the High Court order, scores of homeless can be found sleeping in the open. “At times these homeless are sent away owing to lack of space at the homes,” Indu Prakash Singh, working with the NGO, told Deccan Herald. 

Another issue is that the homeless do not want to take a chance going to night shelters. They fear they would lose their usual spot in the open to some other homeless person if they leave it unoccupied for a night for a place at a shelter, Singh said.

Though the chief executive officer of DUSIB could not be reached despite repeated attempts, officials in the department said they will look into the matter.

The DUSIB had told the court that all the 174 night shelters in the city were in working order.In October, the High Court had asked the officials concerned to visit all night shelters and ensure that they were are functional and also to find out how many more shelters are required to be set up in view of the growing number of homeless persons in the capital.

In response, the DUSIB had admitted that out of 174 shelter homes, 146 were inspected and found functional as well as equipped with all basic facilities. These shelters have a capacity to accommodate 14,000 people

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