No space in shelter, 6 homeless die

 Six homeless persons sleeping in the open near Nigambodh Ghat were found dead on Saturday morning.

The night shelters in the locality are cramped for space, say locals.

Delhi's Education and Urban Development Minister Minister Manish Sisodia has ordered a probe. Police have sent the bodies of the five men and a woman for a post-mortem.
The death toll in the neighbourhood near Kashmere Gate has already reached 11 in two months, according to Deputy Commissioner of Police (North), Sindhu Pillai.

The rain and cold wave on Friday night is being blamed for the loss of these six lives. Delhi temperature didn’t go beyond a numbing 12.9 degree Celsius throughout Friday.
Before winter descended in Delhi, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) on November 27 had told the High Court that it would ensure that not a single person will be forced to spend the night in the open.

“A day or two ago, building materials had come for a night shelter in the neighbouring area of Yamuna Pushta, but later they shifted the construction materials to another locality,” said Mangey Lal, a homeless who lives in one of the night shelters at Nigambodh Ghat, pointing out that the shelters are heavily crowded.

“The blankets and this place stinks,” he added.

There are nine shelters for the homeless in the locality that housed 434 people on Friday night, according to the Centre for Holistic Development. However, another estimate points out that many more are forced to sleep outside due to lack of space.

Early this month AAP ministers, Manish Sisodia and Rakhi Birla had carried out night inspections to assess the condition of homeless in Delhi. The government had even promised more night shelters and better amenities for the homeless. 

To create more room for homeless, the government had turned abandoned buses into night shelters.

This didn’t stop the opposition from criticising the Kejriwal government.

Delhi has an estimated population of over 1,00,000 homeless people, rendering the efforts inadequate.

“Government schools in Delhi could have been converted into night shelters, after the class hours. Most of the night shelters are in outer Delhi and the government never paid attention on the prospects of building pucca shelters,” said Bharatiya Janata Party's state unit president Vijay Goel, arguing that the government is not serious about the
homeless.

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