Homeless deaths seem unending, toll reaches 174

With another homeless person found dead in Kashmere Gate area on Wednesday, the toll of destitutes shivering to death across the city has reached 174 since January 1.

The government is yet to come up with a policy to protect them.

Earlier this month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had promised to set up porta cabins at 45 locations. But the ground reality is that plastic shelters have been put up and they are in bad shape.

NGOs working for the homeless said the city government opted e-tendering for making the process transparent. “But it’s a lengthy procedure,” said a social worker. “It has delayed the whole process of setting up porta cabins.”

Since December 1, 2013 a total of 395 unidentified bodies have been found across the city. Some 1,127 homeless people were found dead from November 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013.

The most number of deaths have been reported from Kashmere Gate area.
Since December 1, 2013 the total number of deaths in north district has reached 79, and of these 39 were registered with Kashmere Gate police station. The organisations working for destitutes have been demanding more shelters in Kashmere Gate.

There are 10 shelter homes in the area, which can accommodate 400 homeless people. “But there are over 2,500 homeless people sleeping in the open. There is an urgent need for more shelters,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia of Centre for Holistic Development.

On Tuesday, a body was found under the Metro bridge in Yamuna Bazar. Another homeless person’s body was found dead near the railway bridge on Ring Road on Monday. NGO workers who work for the homeless also found a body near Chatta Rail in Kashmere Gate on Sunday.

The deaths seem unending as the six homeless succumbed to severe cold in the same area.

NGOs blamed the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. “The carpets on which homeless people sleep in the plastic shelters were wet,” said Indu Prakash Singh, member of an NGO.

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