60 bodies found in one week, some die of heat

With a 50-year-old homeless man succumbing to blistering heat on the season’s hottest day on Friday, the toll of unidentified bodies across city reached 62 in May only, according to figures complied by an NGO.

Non-profit organisations working for the destitutes claim that bulk of these bodies belong to homeless who have died due to rise in mercury.

Two  bodies were found on Friday afternoon – one on the Ring Road and another near Jhandewalan Metro station. The latter was identified as an homeless man.

An NGO, Centre for Holistic Development, said seven unidentified bodies were found on Thursday. In all 591 unidentified bodies have been recovered from city streets since March – 259 in April and 270 in March, according to the figures complied by the NGO.

“Almost 80 per cent of these bodies belong to the homeless population,” said Sunil Kumar Aledia, founder of Centre for Holistic Development.

But police said not all bodies can be identified. “Some bodies are of accident victims which get mutilated beyond recognition. While others belong to vagabonds,” said a senior police officer. The apathy towards homeless can be judged from the fact that the city government body, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), has been slack in coming up with the summer action plan for the smooth functioning of shelter homes across the city.

NGOs blame DUSIB’s lackadaisical approach in preparing for the summers. “We had written to the DUSIB in April asking them to start gearing up for the summer season. But in vain,” said Aledia. “When I brought the issue up at a meeting, some officials told me, first let the mercury cross 40 degree Celsius mark,” he added. “The DUSIB officials are highly insensitive to the needs of the homeless population. On the contrary they should conduct surveys to check whether shelter homes have been provided with adequate number of fans or not.” 

The Deccan Herald has been asking DUSIB officials about their preparedness for summer for the past one week. But they do not have a clear-cut answer.

There are over 1.5 lakh homeless in the city, according to NGOs working for the cause. But the DUSIB could only find 16,000 destitutes in Delhi during a survey conducted by it in 2014.

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