At least 106 homeless people have died in Delhi between January 1-19 due to the biting cold, an NGO has claimed in a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and urged him to make proper arrangements for them during winters.
Citing official data, NGO Centre for Holistic Development (CHD) said the number of homeless people far outstrips the capacity of existing night shelters in Delhi.
As per the latest Shelter Homes Occupancy Report of Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), with the onset of the Covid pandemic, the total capacity of the shelter homes has been revised to 9,330 from the original capacity of 19,964.
This has forced the homeless to spend the nights on the streets bearing the harsh weather, it said.
“We are distributing sleeping bags and arranging accommodation for the homeless. We take them to the nearby rain baseras (night shelters),” said Sunil Kumar Aledia, founder of CHD.
He suggested government departments like the Women and Child Development Department and Social Welfare Department should work in coordination with the DUSIB to ensure the welfare of the homeless people.
Delhi based Wishes and Blessings is another NGO active in providing winter essentials to the underprivileged.
The NGO distributes winter relief items to the homeless in three states -- Delhi/NCR, Jharkhand and West Bengal – and launched the eighth phase of its annual Winter Relief Project on December 20 last year.
In the last seven years, it has reached out to more than 20,000 homeless and underprivileged people and provided them with shawls, blankets, jackets/sweaters, gloves and mufflers, socks and food.
“We have increased the number of drives and the number of winter essentials. I made sure to personally visit some of the drives and always get overwhelmed witnessing the smiles on the faces of our beneficiaries. It is extremely important for all of us as fellow human beings to look after those who cannot afford warmth,” said Dr Geetanjali Chopra, Founder and President of Wishes and Blessings.
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