Concerned with the ever-rising number of homeless who come to Delhi from the city’s satellite towns and put pressure on its resources, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has asked union urban development minister Kamal Nath to intervene and ask the neighbouring states to provide them shelters.
In a letter to Nath, the chief minister wrote that the number of homeless in Delhi is rising at a steady pace and the Delhi government has been forced to provide shelter to those who do not belong to the city.
The Delhi government has also asked the NCR Planning Board to ensure that the district administration of towns such as Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Ghaziabad, Bahadurgarh and Sonepat set up enough night shelters for the homeless, especially during winter season.
“We have enough night shelters but the number of homeless is only rising. They (homeless) come to Delhi from the neighbouring towns and make use of Delhi’s resources. This needs to be checked,” a senior Delhi government official said. “We don’t have the space to keep on building more shelters in the city. Since the borders are porous, we can’t check the influx. It is the responsibility of the governments of the neighbouring states to take steps in this direction,” he added.
Officials said that the Delhi Government had raised this issue several times in the meetings of the NCR Planning Board and at other forums as well, but nothing has worked so far.
“If you look at the night shelters in areas close to the border, they are always brimming with people. If NCR towns also set up some night shelters, the pressure on Delhi’s shelters will lessen,” the official added.
Delhi currently runs nearly 130 night shelters and more than 50,000 homeless stay in them every night. Non-government organisations (NGO) have been pressuring the government to increase the number of these shelters.