Homeless shiver to death

With the death of a 42-year-old homeless man at Kudsia Ghat in Yamuna Pusta area in the early hours of Monday, the number of such deaths this winter season has reached 410, an NGO working for destitutes said.

Apathy towards the homeless can be seen by the fact that the city government body looking after shelter homes, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), has no information about the latest death.

“I have been out in Kudsia Ghat area this evening, but none of the NGOs informed me about a homeless succumbing to cold weather,” a senior DUSIB official said.

The deceased, identified as Rajesh, used to work as a waiter and live in Kashmere Gate, the Centre for Holistic Development said.

In October, a total of 247 unidentified bodies were found across the capital, and as many as 163 bodies have been found till November 24, according to figures complied by the Centre for Holistic Development.

Few shelter homes

NGOs working for the destitutes said there are lack of shelter homes in Yamuna Pusta area.

The Centre for Holistic Development said that in all there are 14 shelter homes in Yamuna Pusta area, which can accommodate 900 destitutes.

“But there are over 1,000 homeless and most of them spend the night out in the open because they can’t find a spot inside a night shelter,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia, member of Centre for Holistic Development.

Since November 1, there have been 17 deaths in the central district alone.
“There is a dire need of more shelter homes in Kashmere Gate area. We have been demanding DUSIB to set up more shelters in the vicinity,” said Aledia.

Porta cabins

“The DUSIB has even failed to set up a porta cabin shelter home that was destroyed by the dust storm in May,” he added.

The DUSIB, however, said the department is planning to set up two big porta cabin shelter homes in Yamuna Pusta.

“Once they are put in place, they will double the capacity of the existing shelter homes. The two porta cabins will be able to accommodate nearly 300 people,” said Kamal Malhotra, Director of DUSIB (Night Shelter).

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